Expulsions down significantly in school district

The Marshalltown Community School District was not proud of the 17 student expulsions it had to hand down in the 2010-11 school year. District leaders are now pleased with how that number has dropped significantly in the past two school years.

In the 2011-12 school year there were nine student expulsions, and this current school year there have been zero.

“We’re very proud of that,” said Lisa Koester, director of human resources with the district who handles student disciplinary action for Marshalltown.

Although severe behavior from students has not totally gone away, the district has been looking at other ways to deal with it, such as transferring such students to at-risk programming.

“We’ve been looking at finding alternatives to expulsion that still implement consequences,” Koester said. “We’ve been able to deal with it in a different method.”

The past expulsions also may have served as an example to students that they could be taken out of school for up to a year if they take part in severe behavior.

“I really think that the students see other students in the past get expelled, and it might have altered behavior,” Koester said. “I think the message is clear that this really will happen.”

Another factor may have been security cameras that have been put in place at the schools where the majority of the expulsions occur – the middle school and high school.

“They could have an impact on behavior,” Koester said. “They were put in for safety and protection, not to deter behavior.”

School Board President Sherm Welker hinted at a recent meeting that school leadership’s intolerance for severe behavior might also have played a role in the decreased expulsions.

The last school day for students in Marshalltown schools is Friday.