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JCPS Board of Education investigates behavioral issues

School leaders in Jefferson City are responding after more complaints from parents and former teachers.

More than 50 supporters demanded action at Moreau Heights ElementarySchool at last night’s school board meeting. They described an out of control situation, with students assaulting staff on a regular basis. They also called for a stronger response from officials.

A school board sub-committee is now investigating.

Tuesday, the board said it is looking into the situation and asks for all parents to trust that it will be handled.

At Monday’s school board meeting, parents said a student at the elementary school recently punched and kicked a teacher and facilitator. The student also bit the teacher, who then had to go to the hospital.

Doug Whitehead, a member of the JCPS Board of Education, said the students has been suspended.

Doug Whitehead, JCPS Board of Education member: “We took all their comments very seriously. We have formed a committee to allow this committee to research what’s going on in all our elementary school buildings regarding behavioral issues. We want to move very swiftly.”

Parents said the same afternoon, another student broke pencils and threw them at a teacher until the classroom had to be evacuated. And another day, a first-grader threatened to kill a teacher. These are only a few of the many claims parents made at the meeting about constant issues of violence within the school.

Whitehead: “If somebody misbehaves in class, we take it very seriously. If somebody commits a safe school act violation we act quickly and swiftly.”

Whitehead said the board has a few solutions in place, but it is working on more. The board also focused on behavioral issues as the education system changes during one of the board’s recent work session retreats.

In a letter to the school board, parents said about 10 staff members departed from Moreau Heights in 2013, and about 12 more left this year, saying many resigned due to the behavioral issues and deterioration of discipline.

Whitehead said the turnover is not much different from the other schools and contributes it to many other factors. He said he wants parents to now that the 9,000 plus students in the district are very safe in all of the Jefferson City public schools.

Whitehead: “I would say to them to feel confident about the safety of their children in all our schools that we strive everyday to take care of all our kids to give them the opportunity everyday to be successful tomorrow….and should they have concerns, we want to hear them.”

The school board would not say if any other students have been suspended this year for behavioral issues, but it said it is taking this an an opportunity to improve.

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