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Kids on block reduce crime

Cory Fisher

Give students less time to hang out on campus and you’ll have fewer problems.

That’s the theory South Tahoe High School Principal Bill Murray and his faculty subscribe to, and it appears to be true.

Since the school implemented a rotating block schedule this fall, Murray says discipline problems are on the decrease.

“One of the reasons we went to a block schedule was to reduce behavior problems,” said Murray. “It’s really worked.”

Within the first 16 weeks of school, suspensions for fighting dropped 4 percent, while drug related infractions fell a whopping 43 percent, said Murray, adding that this year the school had an enrollment increase of 150 students.

“Now students are under adult supervision almost all the time,” said Murray. “We only have one passing period – we used to have six.”

With the exception of the daily zero period, which begins at 6:45 a.m., each STHS class is now 110 minutes long, with periods 1, 3, and 5 meeting one day, and periods 2,4, and 6 meeting the next. Schedules switch every week, meeting twice one week and three times the next.

Minutes wasted passing between classes are now better used in class, enabling students to get out earlier in the day.

Two full-time security officers and one part-time police officer have also contributed to fewer behavioral problems, Murray said.

“Three to four years ago we had a much larger number of students getting caught,” he said. “But students seem to be getting the message and things are settling down. It also helps that local police will cite in every instance of battery or if a student is selling, possessing or under the influence of an illegal substance. Some cities won’t do that.”


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