2nd group to study school discipline

March 18, 1993|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff Writer

A plan for an ad hoc group to look at school discipline problems surprised members of the Anne Arundel school board and a committee studying the issue.

An independent committee established by the County Council of PTAs has been looking into the issue since August. The group, led by PTA Council President Carolyn Roeding, plans to conduct public forums next month and to present its findings to the school board June 2.

But at last night's board meeting, Ms. Roeding said she was confused to hear that School Superintendent C. Berry Carter II had created an ad hoc committee yesterday to study the same subject.

"I need clarification," she told the board. "We've spent hour after hour to obtain this information, and part of my concern is that at the Feb. 3 meeting you did not know our group was in existence."

That was the night the discipline issue came to the forefront.

A report prepared by another group, the Committee for Education Equity and Community Relations, revealed statistics that raised concerns that some students are not punished severely enough, and that black students are disproportionately singled out.

Several PTA committee members testified they were offended by the idea of an ad hoc panel made up of Board of Education staff studying the issue. How the two groups would work together was not resolved, but the issue, which was not on last night's agenda, generated an hour of debate.

Board member Thomas Twombley favored a single independent committee review.

"One of the hardest things in life is self-criticism," said Mr. Twombley. "I don't want a biased staff opinion, I want open and honest debate about the discipline system in the county."

But another board member, Maureen Carr-York, said she didn't see why the "ad hoc committee can't work closely with" the PTA.

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