TUSD Discipline Crisis: Union president describes problems still plaguing schools

Efforts now underway to change the Student Code of Conduct
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 6:46 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (13 News) - It’s been a problem plaguing Tucson Unified for years. Efforts are now underway to change the Student Code of Conduct.

It’s changed a couple of times since 2016, when discipline issues reached a peak.

Outgoing TEA president Margaret Chaney told 13 News that it’s now time to tackle it all again before the next school year.

Teacher Cristobal Santa Cruz told the board, “What is happening with the Code of Conduct -- the Code of Conduct We currently have -- this is coming from a 30-year veteran is not working.”

Some TUSD Teachers described the current crisis in their classrooms and schools to district leaders and board members at the May 23rd meeting.

Teacher Evan Cook said, “Every staff member that was threatened that I witnessed almost get punched out and nothing done about it.”

TEA members came out in force, including the union president Margaret Chaney.

13 News Investigates asked, “Are you disappointed in the fact that you’re still dealing with the code of conduct, you’re still dealing with severe discipline in TUSD?”

Chaney replied, “Yeah. I mean, but on the other hand, it’s like we’ve gone through so much the pandemic didn’t help things at all.”

The district presented its proposed changes from the Code of Conduct Revision Committee.

Chaney was among the members.

Teachers reported there’s no consistency with discipline and that their hands have been tied under the current Code of Conduct.

“Teachers were told that they could not merit consequences,” said Chaney, “Admin and staff were told that they -- according to the current code -- that they can do much.”

She said students are getting away with too much and they know it.

“Kids will say things like well you know I did that but what are you gonna do about it? You can’t do anything about it,” she said.

When asked where the onus falls, Chaney answered, “Everyone saw it coming, if you will. And I have to say, we have a lot of new admin and they’re doing the best they can, but sometimes they don’t always know the parameters of what they can do. And so they make mistakes just like new teachers make mistakes.”

Chaney believes the Governing Board is listening.

13 News contacted one board member, Val Romeo, who said he’s paying close attention.

TEA will be back before the board to be heard at it’s next meeting in early June.

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