Gwinnett Schools Sign-Off on Amended 2001-02 Discipline Report









Gwinnett Schools Sign-Off on Amended 2001-02 Discipline Report

          Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS) has filed an amended discipline report for 2001-02 that has been designated as error-free by the State Department of Education (DOE). The school system met the reporting deadline of May 23 for transmitting amended student discipline data as requested by State School Superintendent Kathy Cox. Subsequently, the customary process of working through error reports occurred between the DOE and GCPS to check Gwinnett’s data against other school systems’, as well as its own student data, to verify it is accurate. Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks signed-off on the official amended Student Discipline Data Report for 2001-02 on June 5, 2003, restating his intentions to ensure Gwinnett’s schools are safe learning environments for all.

          The amended data reflect increases in the total number of student discipline incidents reported to the State Department of Education for 2001-02 as compared to the original report submitted in August of 2002. The amended report includes a total of 48,501 incidents. The vast majority of the incidents not originally reported-- 37,013, or 76 percent-- fall in the category of “24 Other.” This category encompasses minor discipline incidents that are reportable to the State only because they result in a consequence for the student that is reportable under the State Department guidelines. For example, chronic tardiness or failure to serve an assigned detention, which are not reportable incidents, could result in a student being assigned in-school suspension, which is a reportable consequence.

          Many of the DOE’s 23 categories of serious incidents showed increases due to the system’s broad interpretation of the State Department’s definitions of reportable offenses in its efforts to be as open and accurate as possible. Any incident that even marginally could be considered as reportable was included in the amended report. For example, incidents of students wearing sagging trousers that reveal their backsides, or intentionally baring their backsides to other students, were included among the “sex offenses” reported, as well as incidents of a student defacing a desk with a permanent magic marker, pen, or other implement, which were reported as “vandalism.”

          A combination of process problems, technology limitations, and training issues led to the initial under-reporting. At no time were safety and order in Gwinnett’s schools compromised as a result of the under-reporting. Every student found in violation of Gwinnett’s student discipline code was assigned appropriate consequences. The under-reporting was not a discipline issue, but a reporting issue.

          Gwinnett County Public Schools is committed to ensuring that future State Department of Education reports are complete, as accurate as humanly possible, and submitted on time. In this regard, changes in the reporting process have been made and additional, ongoing training of school and system-level staff is underway and will remain a major focus for new and veteran employees.

          GWINNETT COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
          STUDENT DATA RECORD for SCHOOL YEAR 2001/2002
          DISCIPLINE INCIDENT SUMMARY REPORT

          INCIDENT TYPE
          NUMBER of INCIDENTS REPORTED
          Alcohol
          71
          Arson
          0
          Battery
          397
          Burglary
          9
          Computer Trespass
          97
          Disorderly Conduct
          2,478
          Drugs-Except Alcohol
          838
          Fighting
          2,164
          Homicide
          0
          Kidnapping
          0
          Larceny/Theft
          22
          Motor Vehicle Theft
          0
          Robbery
          0
          Sexual Battery
          0
          Sexual Harassment
          266
          Sex Offenses
          814
          Threat/Intimidation
          2,613
          Tobacco
          598
          Trespassing
          11
          Vandalism
          797
          Weapons/Firearms
          16
          Weapons/Knife
          210
          Weapons/Other
          87
          Other Discipline Incidents
          37,013
          System Totals
          48,501