The Boonville R-1 School Board approved a new position that would oversee the in-school suspension and recovery room at Laura Speed Elliott Middle School.

Superintendent Sarah Marriott said the position would be full-time and begin at a starting teacher’s salary of $32,100, which the district would have to pay half of for the rest of the school year. If it’s successful, they could continue the position next year, Marriott said.

The board voted to advertise for the position. The job will be posted from Nov. 21 to Dec. 12, and the district would hold interviews from Dec. 13 to 17 to have a candidate for the board at its Dec. 18 meeting, Marriott said.

The middle school and Boonville High School used to have their students who were given in-school suspension serve them in the same room, first at LSE and later at the Boonville Alternative School near the high school.

This October, the middle school started having its own separate in-school suspension room in its own school building, but finding people to watch the room has been difficult, Assistant Principal Curtis Walk said.

Parents weren’t comfortable with students being transported to another building to serve their in-school suspensions, and school officials didn’t want high school and middle school students intermingling during their suspensions, Walk said.

Students serving in-school suspensions are placed in the room for the entire school day. It also serves as a recovery room for students who get upset with a situation during the day and need a short break to calm down before going back to class, Walk said.

In-school suspensions are preferable to out of school suspensions because school is the best place for students to be, Walk said. Since they’re still in the building, teachers come in on their off hours to work with the students, and they still have all the resources they need to learn, Walk said. But there’s still a consequence to try to get them to change their behavior.

The middle school averages about 8-10 students a day serving in-school suspensions, and that’s been declining slightly since they started keeping students in the building, Walk said. Students are getting more assignments done during their suspensions now that teachers can come by and help them, Walk said.

Cell phones and social media have been increasing the issues that leads school officials to give students in-school suspensions, Walk said. Students have issues on social media outside of school, and then bring those issues into school, causing problems, he said.

Committee to research four-day school week

School board President Charlie Melkersman said he and Marriott had talked about setting up a committee to study a four-day school week or alternative calendar in the near future, including school board members, district teachers and staff, and community members. Marriott said did not mean the district is looking to start using a four-day week.

“This is initial information gathering only,” Marriott said. “And it’s just to determine whether we even need to consider these options.”