McDonogh City Park Academy’s monthly board meeting on Nov. 15 focused on student discipline problems.
In attendance at the meeting were board President Mary Kay Parker, Treasurer Jim Nelson and board members Laurie Charbonnet, Mike Bagot and Lee Hampton. Administrators present included Principal and CEO Christine Mitchell, Assistant Principal Ellen Bankston, Director of Finance and Operations Keeanya Dupre and Coordinator of School Services Carmelite Price.
Also in attendance were 12 teachers from McDonogh’s middle school, concerned over increasing discipline problems. They said solutions proposed by school administrators were proving inadequate and so they were seeking to draw the board’s attention to the scope of the problem.
Dress code violations are a persistent problem, the teachers said, but their greater concern is fighting among students and disrespect for teachers. While expressing frustration with the lack of “solution-oriented” responses from school leaders, the teachers stressed that they were not at the meeting to create an “us against them” battle with the administration.
Nelson promised that, though enrollment reductions affect the school’s budget, the board would not block expulsion of extreme or repeat offenders.
Nelson and the board suggested that teachers and administrators revisit their concerns at an upcoming professional development meeting and try to hammer out some concrete, results-oriented strategies. If no progress ensues, the board agreed to a three-way meeting with teachers and administrators after the Thanksgiving holiday.