Discipline referrals up 150% at Brevard Public Schools with stricter discipline policy in use

Fox 35 Orlando | By Esther Bower | October 30, 2023

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Discipline referrals are up 150% in Brevard Public Schools. The school board chair said kids are now being held responsible if they break the rules. Some school officials thought the increase would be higher after updating the district’s discipline policy to deal with issues. 

“We had students that were acting inappropriately. They were taking control of the buses. The bus drivers were quitting at a massive rate,” said BPS Chairman Matt Susin. 

Susin said the district isn’t tolerating bad behavior anymore, so he knew there would be a spike in reported incidents. He also believes the numbers are skewed because several issues weren’t being reported last year. 

He said a new stricter discipline policy focused on cell phones, smartwatches and dress code is contributing to higher numbers. Principals also have the power to suspend and expel students.  

“Teachers will tell you they have control of their classrooms, and the principals will tell you, they have control of their schools,” added Susin. 

In this new report from the district, these are the top reasons kids are getting written up: willful disobedience, being tardy or not being in their assigned areas.


If kids are written up, the most common punishments are admin detention, suspension and a conference with the student. 

“I think the ping-ponging of students is actually a detriment to students,” said BPS mom Kelly Kervin. 

She’s concerned with kids going in and out of the classroom with referrals. She also thinks teachers should play a bigger role addressing issues in the classroom.   

“It does take away the autonomy of the teachers when you have a kid act up and your only option is write a referral, get them out of there,” Kevin added. 

Susin said the district is working on behavior plans and procedures to help students stop acting out. 

“What we want to do is have our students learn this is wrong and then give them corrective behavior on the back end,” Susin concluded. 

The school board will go over this new data and report on Tuesday as officials look for what else can be changed and improved to help the learning environment. 

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