In 2021-22 School Year, there were 541 reported instances of the use of force against a staff member plus 205 instances of "threatening, intimidating, or instigating violence, injury or harm to a staff member" in Virginia Beach Public Schools.

Do you think those numbers have an impact on the teacher shortage? You've seen all the news stories about school violence.  Children at very young ages commiting acts one would never even imagine.  Could the increasing number of aggressive and violent behaviors have anything to do with lenient discipline practices in schools?  PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports) is the discipline techniques used in many schools across America, including Virginia Beach Schools.  You can read more about why some believe PBIS doesn't work at this link. VBCPS has been implementing this program incrementally since 2014 with all schools having full implementation in 2019.  In a School Board meeting, one member asked for data to show that the PBIS method is improving student discipline but administration could not provide data to show that it is working.  In a recent vote by the VB School Board on approving the continuation of PBIS, it only passed by a narrow 6-5 vote.  We are thankful that all of the School Board members endorsed by Students First VA voted against PBIS. Looks like we'll need to work on turning a couple more seats in 2024 to get rid of this program.

The new data on student discipline provided by the VA Dept of Education seems to indicate that student behaviors have dramatically worsened.  Below are links to discipline data for the 2017-18 SY, 2018-19SY and the 2021-22 SY.  The discipline categories have changed each year but you will notice a dramatic change in these school climate reports.  You can access the full data, including by individual school at this link.  In a survey in early 2020, prior to the shutdown of schools, teachers in VBCPS indicated concerns regarding their own safety and student safety related to discipline problems. They also overwhelmingly felt that PBIS was either not effective or only somewhat effective.  In fact, only 10% of teachers surveyed reported that PBIS was very effective.  That full survey can also be accessed below.  Warning-- you may decide that your kids should never step foot in a public school again after reading all the data.

Why do School Boards across the state and nation continue to use a program that is not only ineffective but based on the data, discipline problems are dramatically increasing?  After reading all the data, there seems to be an obvious answer as to why there is a teacher shortage!  Who wants to go to work when they fear for their safety?

Until students (and parents) are held accountable for breaking the rules, discipline problems are not going to improve.  It is great to see that the parent is being held accountable in the Newport News shooting of a teacher by a 6 year old and it appears that an investigation will also look into the actions of the school district!  We need more parents and students to be held accountable as well as those who are not taking appropriate action to hold students accountable for their actions in schools.  When a child breaks the rules and is not disciplined, they continue to push the bar and break bigger rules.  When there are no consequences for actions, look at what happens!

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.  It's time to get rid of the PBIS methods that rewards students rather than providing proper discipline.  Perhaps its time to expel the troublemakers and require their parents to deal with them.

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