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Separating potential troublemakers

One principal is focusing on tardiness in effort to reduce fighting

Some administrators are analyzing student traffic patterns to eliminate the bumping, pushing and shoving—and in turn, the fighting—that occurs in overcrowded hallways and stairwells.

Randy Boardman of the Crisis Prevention Institute says that one middle school with particularly narrow hallways solved the problem by cutting down on hallway traffic.

Administrators and teachers were seeing more fights because students were bumping into each other,” he says. “Since school officials couldn’t change the hallways, they staggered the release of classes, so only students from one grade level at a time were in the hallways.”

In the Dublin City Public Schools in Ohio, meanwhile, John Sells Middle School Assistant Principal Joe Santa-Emma noticed a particular group of students was mixing it up on the stairwells after lunch. He says that he found a technological solution in the Complete Student Safety and Behavior System designed by the education software company Public School Works.

Teachers can use the tool to report when students are late to class or caught bullying. Tracking the behavior data, Santa-Emma found a connection between certain students’ tardiness and more frequent fighting.

“The more rambunctious students would get into the stairwells on their way back to class after lunch,” says Santa-Emma. The fighting was reduced by changing the students schedules so that fewer of them would have lunch at the same time, Santa Emma says.