Aiken County schools superintendent says he will address discipline, other issues after data is compiled

Aiken County schools superintendent Sean Alford says he hopes the discipline policy, which discourages teachers from sending away disruptive students after one warning, promotes consistency in handling student misbehavior.
Aiken County schools superintendent Sean Alford says he hopes the discipline policy, which discourages teachers from sending away disruptive students after one warning, promotes consistency in handling student misbehavior.

AIKEN, S.C. (WJBF)- Holly Foreman has three kids in Aiken County schools. She also says she’s worked as a substitute teacher in the school system for the past six years.

“If I wasn’t subbing I was volunteering from the time my children walked in the school to the time they walked out,” Foreman said.

But she says for all that she gives to Aiken County Schools, she’s not getting much back as a parent or a teacher. That’s why she says she’s confronting superintendent Sean Alford.

“He talked about education being so important, but for who? My kids are lacking the education because we’re having to turn around and talk to one student 25 percent of class time,” Foreman said.

Alford says he hopes the discipline policy, which discourages teachers from sending away disruptive students after one warning, will promote consistency in handling student misbehavior.

“You just don’t turn overnight and become 100 percent consistent and really good at it,” he said. “So our first steps are really establishing the notion and understanding that we need to be one team.”

He says if teachers are overwhelmed by disruptive students, they should call an administrator to sit in the class with them. He says training teachers is also important.

However, he says teachers haven’t received training on how to implement the discipline policy.

“Our teachers have so much in their wheelbarrow right now, we have to be very thoughtful about what it is we take their training time for,” Alford said.

Alford says he will take the data compiled from parent and teacher comments at these town hall meetings and use that to decide how to proceed not only on disciplinary policy, but other issues as well.

“When the area councils compile the data, then we’ll have something to go back to the schools to speak about. Because we want to make sure that when we go, we give them comprehensive feedback, and that’s when we start to develop the plan of action,” he said.

Alford says he is frustrated with the recent focus on discipline by news outlets. He says the town meetings hosted by leaders in the Aiken County Public School District and area advisory councils are about a lot more than discipline, and that parents have other concerns as well.

However, NewsChannel 6 has heard from many parents who say they are frustrated with the lack of focus on discipline in schools.

“That’s not the only topic that we’re talking about. Is it important? Absolutely. Do we have a long way to go? Absolutely? But there are a ton of outstanding things that are happening in this school district for students and teachers and parents,” Alford said. “So let’s talk about all those things with discipline.”

The data from the cards parents filled out at the town halls will be compiled by the area councils starting March 2nd.

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