COCOA, Fla. (WFLA) — Brevard County Sheriff Wayne Ivey is taking his ideas on student discipline to jail, lamenting the impact a lack of corporal punishment has on misbehaving students.
Speaking in front of the county jail after Thanksgiving and flanked by law enforcement partners, school board chair Matt Susin, and 18th District State Attorney Phil Archer, Ivey said school discipline and security must be more aggressive.
He said it was his job, along with his fellows, to keep schools safe from harm. According to Ivey, that includes active shooters, threats, and “the clowns who continually disrupt our classrooms, our assemblies, with their bad behavior.” Ivey said violent acts on campus and cell phones in the classroom are disruptive, and that the situation was going to change.
“Our teachers are distracted, they can’t do their jobs anymore, they’re spending more time dealing with children disrupting their class than they are in teaching those that came there to learn,” Ivey said.
Joined by the area’s state attorney and the director of school board security, among others, Ivey said he wanted to dicuss “the failure of school discipline policy” in Brevard County. The sheriff said county residents and students were tired of “a few clowns” who don’t follow the rules being violent, disrupting class, putting lives at risk, and attacking teachers physically and verbally.
Referring to current educational policy, teachers and principals are powerless to stop violations, Ivey said, calling teachers and principals “handcuffed” when it comes to enforcing discipline, and that a referral for action must be sent through a process to request disciplinary action.
“As a result, we are losing teachers in mass order. Teachers that can no longer take having their class disrupted by these clowns,” Ivey said. “We are losing those that came here to passionately teach our students, that are passionate about teaching others.”
The sheriff said it was making some teachers leave to go to other districts, or in some cases, leave teaching as a profession entirely. Ivey said he had directly witnessed this behavior while speaking at an anti-bullying assembly, and that the disruptive students he’d seen were not worried about discipline.
“They’re not worried about getting in trouble, they know nothing’s going to happen to them, they’re not going to be given after school detention, they’re not going to be suspended, they’re not going to be expelled,” Ivey said. “Unlike the old days, they’re not going to have the cheeks of their a** torn off for not doing right in class.”
Going forward, Ivey said “school discipline is going to be put back in place in Brevard Public Schools,” and that he had the support of the school board, the teachers union, principals, the state attorney’s office, and school security. School officials spoke as well, saying support staff were under attack, including bus drivers, teachers, and others employed by the school system.
At a school board meeting on Dec. 13, the sheriff’s goal of expanding disciplinary options were discussed during a public comment period and among board members. However, specific plans were not released. The school board agendas for Dec. 13 do not yet show the exact policy proposals discussed.