HED:Tupelo School Board debates renaming of Discipline Center

By Monique Harrison

Daily Journal

A proposal to change the name of Tupelo's Discipline Center sparked a heated debate at Tuesday's Tupelo School Board meeting.

Assistant Superintendent Glenn McGee asked that board members rename the school that houses students with severe discipline problems, calling it The Enhancement Center.

The program houses students with the most severe discipline problems. Many are sent to the program after returning from a court-ordered stint in training school.

Board members Charlotte McElroy, Polly Bailey and Skip Robertson said they liked the idea of giving the program a more positive name, but were worried the change could create confusion.

"The word enhancement is associated with gifted programs," McElroy said. "People could get the two confused."

The board said they approved of renaming the Bissell Center, which serves students with slightly less serious discipline problems. The center will now be known as the Improvement Center.

McGee said the debate was another example of how proposals he generates are overanalyzed.

"There seems to be a lot of debate - excessive debate - about items I bring before this board," he said. "The boards seems to overanalyze things. I'm really saddened that something as simple as a name change cannot get approved. I think the board should approve it and move on."

McGee said the Discipline Center's staff proposed the new name.

"You talk about empowering the staff and you tell them to be involved," McGee said. "But then you reject their ideas. In most districts, a simple change like this would be accepted without debate."

McGee also said he felt his efforts to help problem students went unacknowledged.

"I never present something and hear, 'Yes, that's a good idea," he said. "We've talked a lot here about gifted students and you're worried someone is going to confuse the two. Why? Why is that the concern?"

The board directed the staff to come up with another positive name.

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