TUPELO • Discipline referrals have steadily decreased over the last four years in Tupelo schools and trends are showing improved bus discipline and a reduction in major infractions.

Tupelo Public School District had over 10,000 discipline referrals five years ago, which included school bus referrals, but since then, Tupelo Public School District has seen a nearly 15 percent drop in such referrals.

Although there have been 9,007 discipline referrals for the entire school district this year – which includes bus discipline referrals – there were 280 fewer discipline referrals this year, a roughly 3% decrease over last year.

When bus referrals were included in that tally there were 59 more referrals this school year, however, Assistant Superintendent Andy Cantrell said there were nearly 200 new bus riders this year.

Cantrell said this means it was a good year in terms of bus discipline.

“We had 280 fewer referrals this year over last year and when bus referrals are taken out, then we are slightly up 59 referrals overall so what the data tells us about the discipline on our buses is that it has been a really good year,” Cantrell said.

“We are up 188 bus students and we are down 280 referrals.”

Major infractions decreased 19.4 percent over last year, which included referrals for fights, drugs and weapons on school campuses. Over the last five years, major infractions have decreased roughly 36 percent.

Cantrell said this is because students and parents have a better understanding of the district’s “non-negotiable” disciplinary policies. He said administrators have adopted a “firm but fair” attitude with student,s and teachers are being more consistent with their students. He said bus drivers have worked on developing positive relationships with the students as well.

“We realize there is always room for improvement, but to know where we are going, it’s good to look back and see where we have been,” Cantrell said.

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