Continuing efforts at Carson High School to mitigate student aggression, including suspensions, parent meetings, behavior contracts and reentry plans, have been successful, Principal Bob Chambers presented to the Carson City school board Jan. 25.
In 2022, as of Jan. 18, Chambers reported there have been 35 events at Carson High School, with 60 student offenders involved and 15 student victims.
The most common type of event to occur on campus is a one-on-one fight, which lasts approximately 10 seconds on average with the staff’s response time in breaking up the incident.
“Those students would then go through a disciplinary system and would be four days out of school suspension, meeting with parents and be put on a behavior contract,” Chambers said. “Parents are involved, students are referred to the Ron Wood Center for anger management and there’s a reentry plan to come back to school and work with a social worker if remediation needs to take place, depending on the style of fight that occurred.”
Students also could be cited by a school resource officer depending on the level of severity if school has been disrupted or they’re found gathering to witness altercations at any given time.
“I don’t write tickets, my deans don’t write tickets,” he said. “That comes from the sheriff’s office.”
Ten-day suspensions are used if staff members were unable to break up a fight and students did not comply, but generally at Carson High, approximately 70% of fights result in four-day suspensions with no repeat offenders.
In November, the Appeal reported Carson High had seen 14 fights on campus for the 2021-22 year as of Oct. 18. Those incidents ultimately ended in arrests, citations, long-term suspensions or limited expulsions.
Now, Chambers, a father who said two of his children will be attending CHS next year, said these behaviors are “overwhelming the underclassmen” in the school. These aggressive patterns have multiplied by three over the prior year, he told the board.
“When you walked into that building in August, September or October, it was palpable,” he said on Jan. 25. “You could feel it was tense. The building was tense. We did respond.”
Chambers told the Appeal in a follow-up Tuesday that providing a school-wide focus on social-emotional learning is helping.
“Part of discipline at the secondary level is following through with consequences and then supporting students with mediation, access to anger management classes, access to school counselors and social workers and specific behavior contracts to ensure the cessation of unwanted behaviors,” Chambers said.
He also noted the TikTok social media challenges and pranks having a negative impact on the school in the fall have stopped as well.
Trustee Mike Walker said in response to Chambers’ presentation he was particularly proud of the school’s high-functioning nature considering its size.
“I’m always impressed by the environment and how students are acting,” he said. “The administrators are working to maintain a positive environment, and you feel that when you go there. We have some stuff to work through.”
“I have, hands down, the best students in this school district,” Chambers said. “I mix it up with the kids. I make sure I’m there. It is an awesome place to work. I would not do this job … I hope to retire in that building.”