Governor Proposes Bill to Improve School Discipline

Perdue has proposed a new bill that broadens the way teachers deal with disciplinary problems. Perdue wants to give teachers more power in the classroom when it comes to dealing with unruly children. The bill would basically give the teacher the upper hand in deciding a child's punishment.

Teachers at Southside Elementary in Cairo say their job would be impossible without decorum in the classroom.

"Without discipline you can't teach because every child has to know what's going on, where the teacher is, where they're suppose to be in their book," says Kathy Higginbotham, a second grade teacher:

In an effort to reform schools, Gov. Perdue plans to give teachers more authority in the classroom. A proposed bill requires principals to fully support a teacher's decision to remove unruly students from class.

Educators here say most schools would be in favor of the bill. However, they say it wouldn't have a great impact on schools at this level because they don't deal with very serious problems.

Charlie McBee, principal of Southside Elementary, says, "On the rare occasion that we may have a truly chronic problem we try to deal with the parents and of course teachers and administrators. It's done cordially and we're pretty much in agreement when a decision has to be made."

Students at Southside are disciplined according to the schools assertive discipline chart, which can restrict them from recess and other activities anytime they misbehave, which helps make harsher punishments a last resort.

"If they know what's expected and you're consistent with that discipline things run pretty smoothly," adds Higginbotham:

Perdue proposed a similar bill last year but the plan did not pass in the house. Another bill has been proposed by Perdue that would cause high school students to lose their driver's license for six months if they miss too many days of school.