Dallas ISD board members voted unanimously on Thursday to adopt a revised school code of conduct, which now includes the option for parents to receive support through parenting classes.

Misbehaving students who commit lower-level offenses, such as disturbing the classroom, harassing other students, or leaving the school grounds without permission, will now have the option of either attending a six-hour Saturday school or performing community service, provided their parent agrees to attend a three-hour parental support course. This would be an alternative to temporarily placing the child in the Disciplinary Alternative Education Program (DAEP) or Reset Center, as reported by The Dallas Express.

Although the revised code of conduct will be implemented at the beginning of the 2024-2025 school year, the parenting course will not be available until October 1, WFAA reported.

“We need time to ensure that we have the course offerings, the content, the training, all of that,” Dallas ISD Deputy Superintendent of Staff and Racial Equity Pam Lear said, per DMN.

Dallas ISD trustee Ed Turner suggested that some might be offended by the idea that the ISD is telling parents how to parent their child, which prompted him to ask if the parenting class could be renamed, reported DMN. Dallas ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde instructed staff to change the name to “parenting support” instead.

“This is a great opportunity for us to work with our parents as partners,” Elizalde said. “We want our students to be successful, and the way our students are most successful is when we forge relationships with our parents. And so the last thing I would want is for any language to sound condescending or judgmental,” Elizalde said, reported DMN.

The parenting classes will include guidance for areas of student concern, campus resources to promote good student outcomes, mental health support, school counselor involvement, and student progress reviews.

The option to avoid alternative schools will not apply to all disciplinary offenses, as state law requires districts to send kids to DAEP for certain rule violations, such as vaping on campus, as News 19 reported.

As previously covered in The Dallas Express, student misbehavior in the classroom has been a serious issue in schools across the country following the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The impact of school closures and online learning remains noticeable across the nation, including through a rise in classroom misbehavior and substandard student achievement.

For instance, DISD STAAR scores fell below the statewide average in several categories in the 2021-2022 school year, with just 41% of students scoring at or above grade level compared to the statewide average of 48%.

This underperformance continued into 2022-2023, with scores especially lagging in 7th-grade math (14% of students at or above grade level compared to a statewide average of 35%) and in 5th- and 8th-grade science (29% and 34% in the district versus 34% and 45% statewide, respectively). This past spring, only 18% of students met grade level in 5th-grade science, and only 32% did so in 6th-grade math.