Electronic Device Misuse at High School Boosts Discipline Numbers

Londonderry High School staff will continue working to strike a balance when it comes to the use of electronic devices in school, with most second semester disciplinary incidents related to the misuse of devices, Assistant Principal Katie Sullivan told the School Board in a conduct report at its July 14 meeting.

The school documented 269 incidents for semester two, of which 52 were for misuse of electronic devices.

At the middle school, 200 incidents were documented during the second semester, of which 38 were for misuse of electronic devices.

Of the middle school’s 200 incidents, 14 percent were committed by “Frequent Flyers,” students with five or more infractions. And with 89 percent of the students not having had a disciplinary incident during the second semester, Assistant Principal Donna Dyer reported the school saw only 108 students for a disciplinary concern.

To help students that staff consider to be in need of a connection with an adult in the building, the school offers a “Big Buddy” program. There are 22 students enrolled in the program, which offers weekly, one-on-one support from volunteer staff members.

The school also has 62 trained seventh and eighth grade peer mentors, who work with the sixth graders to help the new students make social connections and become better acclimated to the school’s expectations.

The number of incidents at the middle school dropped from 235 incidents reported in the same period last year, while incidents increased significantly at the high school – from 193 incidents during the same period last year to the 269 incidents reported this semester.

In addition to misuse of electronic devices, students cutting class were also responsible for the increase in reported incidents.

In the second semester, the high school saw 40 incidents of cutting class, up from 25 incidents during the same period last year.

The number of incidents related to disrespect also increased from eight incidents in the second semester last year to 20 incidents in the same period this year.

On a positive note, Sullivan said 90 percent of students did not have a disciplinary incident during semester two, with Frequent Flyers, having being responsible for 9 percent of the discipline totals.

“Our ‘Frequent Flyers,’ numbers continue to stay low, and for the most part, the graduating class went out in style,” she said. “There were a few little bumps at the end of the year, but the students all respected the rules at graduation and it was a beautiful ceremony, as always.”

Sullivan noted 91 percent of this year’s graduating class are going on to two- and four-year colleges; 196 of the 388 seniors were New Hampshire Scholars; and 24 seniors are moving on to serve the country in the Armed Forces.

Moving into the next school year, Sullivan said the school will continue to focus on balancing electronic use in a school setting, as well as on educating students about plagiarism.

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