Numbers show that Groveport Madison Schools are safe


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Statistics from the Ohio Department of Education and Groveport Madison Schools show violence is not a severe problem in the district’s schools.

At the Groveport Madison Board of Education’s request, Groveport Madison Schools Superintendent Bruce Hoover presented a report on student discipline and safety to the board on Dec 9.

“There have been misperceptions about school safety at Groveport Madison. The fact is that there is not a violence problem in Groveport Madison Schools. What we appear to have are better described as socialization issues,” said Hoover.

The numbers

Based on statistics from 2013-14, when compared to districts with similar urban socio-economic factors, number of special education students, population, average daily attendance, and demographics, Groveport Madison comes in the middle of the pack with 32 discipline incidents per 100 students. (Discipline incidents include a variety of non-violent and violent disruptions.) This compares to the state average of 21.9 as well as to Columbus City Schools with 70.6, Whitehall Schools with 54.6, South-Western City Schools with 44.5, Hamilton Township Schools with 26.7, Reynoldsburg Schools with 21.7 and Canal Winchester Schools with 11.

In a comparison to similar high schools, Groveport Madison had 27.5 incidents per 100 students, just above the state average of 21.9. Columbus South with 192.9, Whitehall with 147.5, and Walnut Ridge with 141.6, were ranked with the most incidents per 100 students while Reynoldsburg had 90.7, Hamilton Township had 19.8, and Canal Winchester had 19.

“Groveport Madison High School is ranked in the lowest fourth of area comparison high schools (for incident rate),” said Hoover. “Across Ohio Groveport Madison’s discipline incidents per 100 students are considerably less than our comparison group and slightly above the state average and the district ranks in the lower third of 20 comparison school districts in terms of discipline incidents per 100 students.”

The numbers show that freshmen were involved in 47 percent of discipline incidents at Groveport Madison High School, followed by sophomores at 34 percent, juniors at 12 percent, and seniors at 7 percent.

“This issue needs further examination as we aren’t seeing similar issues at the middle schools,” said Hoover. “It is possibly a high school transition issue, but it’s not an issue we can ignore.”

Hoover noted the majority of discipline incidents involve disruptive type behaviors (which are non-violent acts that disrupt learning) rather than violent behaviors as the three most frequent types of discipline infractions are: skipping class at 25 percent, general disruptive behavior at 25 percent, and tardiness at 13 percent.

The statistics show fighting makes up  6 percent of the student discipline infractions at the high school.

These infraction numbers reflect the number of students involved, not the number of incidents. For example, several incidents could be the result of the actions of a student or a handful of students.

“It’s clear that there is not a pervasive environment where students are involved in violent actions or fights at any of the district’s 10 schools,” said Hoover.

Analysis and recommendations

Hoover said principals report they are seeing increasing numbers of students who are dealing with social and safety issues in their neighborhoods away from school and these issues are becoming flashpoints in the schools. He said many students lack the skills to handle conflict resolution.

“We’re also seeing more incidents of parents with aggressive behaviors becoming involved in incidents at schools,” said Hoover.

Hoover said the district needs to seek outside professional and community resources to help address neighborhood challenges faced by students and that the district needs to help students develop conflict resolution skills  beginning at a very early age.

The district plans to create a community coalition to develop a plan to address these issues. The coalition will consist of community leaders, social service organizations, church leaders, law enforcement officials, school personnel,  students, parents, and other interested parties.
The district also plans to assess its current discipline data collection and reporting for all schools and create monitoring and reporting systems.

“We are pleased that our principals and staff have developed and are maintaining  positive school climates within our schools. However, we need to look at the district as a whole and keep building – from kindergarten to 12th grade – a better sense in the kids of what education can do for them to help reduce the levels of tardiness, skipping of class, and other disruptive behaviors, and to develop a level of respect in the the classroom so learning can take place,” said Hoover. “We need to get kids more interested in school and keep them engaged and invested in their education so they won’t skip school.”

Modulars at GMHS
The new Groveport Madison High School will be constructed immediately behind the current building, therefore, according to Groveport Madison officials,  all of the modular classrooms are being removed from behind the current building and replacement units are being installed in front of the existing building.

Fourteen new modular classrooms are in place and work will continue over the next few weeks to complete the installation and outfitting of the units. Once the units are installed, fencing will be erected around the units to provide additional safety measures. All of the units are scheduled to be installed and ready for occupancy by the end of December, according to district officials.

Two old modulars with four classrooms that once sat behind the high school are expected to be in place at Dunloe Elementary by mid-January, according to Groveport Madison Superintendent Bruce Hoover.

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