Morehouse School Board sets new policy on school fighting

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MOREHOUSE PARISH, La, (KNOE) - Morehouse Parish is cracking down on students fighting at school.

The board approved a new policy that punishes students involved in a fight.

"You cannot solve problems through violence," said Superintendent-elect David Gray.

That's the message the Morehouse Parish School Board is trying to teach students.

Before accepting the job, Gray says he knew there was some work to do when it comes to school violence.

"It's absolutely critical that we teach kids and that they understand that there are alternatives to violence," Gray said.

Ralph Davenport is the child welfare and attendance supervisor of Morehouse Parish Schools. He says school fights have increased ten-percent this past school year.

"Probably about 200 in one school year for all schools combined,” Davenport said.

Last week, the board approved a new policy designed to reduce the number of incidents.

"It helps the overall attitude of students, the overall educational process,” said Gray. “Kids can feel safe to know that they can go in classes, learn material, and not have to worry about what might be happening in the hall."

For grades Pre-K through 4th, the student will receive corporal punishment or get suspended. For grades 5th through 12th, it's automatic suspension and they could be expelled.

"The old policy stated that the police would be called. We're not going to call the police. Now, the SRO or the principal can feel like this was this was serious enough that the police need to be involved, but it's not any longer mandatory. However, the principal must put the student up for an expulsion hearing."

Davenport says Morehouse isn't all about punishment. If a student is expelled, they'll be attending an alternative school with normal school work and mentors.

"We are not about being reactive, we're all about being proactive," said Davenport.

Teaching them violence is never the answer.

We're told the policy doesn't apply at Beekman Charter because they have their own policies.

The new policy goes into effect this coming school year.