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Brevard parents speak out against proposed discipline changes in county schools

Ron McClellan addresses the Brevard County School Board on Tuesday night.
Danielle Prieur
Ron McClellan addresses the Brevard County School Board on Tuesday night.

Brevard county parents are speaking out against proposed changes to the district’s disciplinary rules. About a dozen parents weighed in on the issue last night at a scheduled board meeting.

The proposed policy changes would include a zero tolerance policy when it comes to student-initiated violence and a near total ban on cell phones.

The board themselves didn’t discuss these changes as the board chair had suggested they might do. Still, about a dozen parents signed up to speak on the issue.

Among them were LaShawn Dillard. She says she worries that these policies will target underrepresented student populations who aren’t getting the support services they need.

“Y’all might want to go to some some NAACP meetings, y’all might want to go to some gay, some LGBT committees, because right now I'm seeing that you guys are all stuck in white people land.”

Ron McClellan spoke next. He says the issue of discipline is complex, and could be better served by showing more compassion towards students and their unique situations.

“When we were doing distance learning at home. There’s a child in my daughter's class. He couldn't get his laptop to work. His dad screamed, yelled and cursed at him," said McClellan. "This kid was heartbroken. It took 15 minutes just for the teacher to calm him down. You see, class wasn't interrupted because of the behavior of the student. It was the parent.”

Sheriff Wayne Ivey proposed these changes to the district’s disciplinary rules at a press conference last month. He says they will help alleviate a teacher and bus driver shortage in the district, something he blames on a lack of discipline in schools.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.
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