Fighting In Cedar Hill ISD Down By 43% In 2023-2024

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infographic showing less fights

Cedar Hill ISD Successfully Combats Fighting On Campuses

Two years ago fighting in the Cedar Hill School District was a problem, particularly in the upper levels. However, officials listened to the complaints and responded.

According to statistics from the Cedar Hill ISD Police Department, reports of fighting throughout the middle and high schools has been reduced by an average of 43%.

“It’s a lot of things. It’s a team effort with administrators and counselors,” CHISD Chief of Police James Hawthorne said. “We’ve seen the administrators take a much more comprehensive approach when it comes to discipline. That’s very helpful.

“From the police department’s standpoint, the officers have developed relationships. They try to be proactive. When they know they have issues brewing, they try to mitigate those. We have weekly meetings with the administration teams to get in front of the issues.”

Actual comparisons from the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years show:

Cedar Hill High School – 69 fights down to 52, a 24% decrease.
Permenter Middle School – 31 down to 16, 48% reduction.
Bessie Coleman Middle School – 26 down to 5, 80% less.

School officials also noted that average daily attendance has increased from 92.1% to 93.7%. While academic scores have not yet been released for the 2023-24 school year, they are optimistic that the average will also increase.

According to Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Tellauance Graham, 92 percent of students are also involved with extracurricular activities.

“This helps because scholars involved in extracurricular activities have more pride in the school, and it improves the school’s culture. It has helped decrease fights, suspensions, and referrals,” Graham said. “Principals came in with the idea of creating new systems to ensure that scholars were following the rules – that they are in class and on time and that they don’t have a lot of unsupervised time.”

Graham said teachers have undergone professional development with restorative practices and Social/Emotional Learning (SEL). Also, the cell phone policy was updated at the beginning of the year to decrease the time students used cell phones.

“Scholars are more engaged, especially at Cedar Hill High School. We have more teachers in the hallway in between classes to monitor kids,” Graham added.

Cedar Hill High School Principal LeRoy Joffre noted that school district officials investigated data on kids who had been in fights in previous years. Counselors met with them at the beginning of the year.

“The goal was that those kids would not get into a fight. We didn’t reach the goal perfectly, but we reached it significantly,” he said. “The list included incoming eighth-graders. Our administrative team responds to the kids’ needs before it escalates into a fight.”

Officials also stated that Hilltop Academy has helped with discipline issues at the high school. Students 18 or 19 years old with only enough credits to be sophomores or juniors were allowed to attend Hilltop, where they could focus on getting enough credits to graduate. They wouldn’t have the distraction of being at a school with 2,000 students.

Since starting at the beginning of the 2022-2023 school year, 33 students have graduated from the Hilltop Academy Program. Hilltop Principal Keith Petty was an Associate Principal at Cedar Hill High School for many years.

Other factors that helped included the Empowher Girls Flag Football League at Cedar Hill High School, a program that debuted this school year.

The presence of Cedar Hill All-Pro Dads, a volunteer group on the campuses, made a difference. They can talk to students, intervene in situations, and help turn things around in some situations.

Also, the Cedar Hill ISD Police Department works closely with the City of Cedar Hill Police Department.

Cedar Hill High School is also considering starting a mentoring program, which it is confident will help with many things, including potential discipline issues.

And, Hawthorne said, a significant part of continuing to reduce fights begins at home.

“Talk to your children, stay involved in their lives and their social media. A lot of the situations percolate on social media,” he said. “Parents have much more influence over their kids than the police do. If parents actively get involved and monitor those situations, those things are very impactful.”

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Rick Mauch
Rick Mauch is a veteran of more than four decades in the media. He began writing in high school and immediately went into broadcasting for almost a decade after graduating, working his way to morning drive in Birmingham, Alabama. However, realizing how much he missed writing (though he did continue to do some during his time in top-40 radio), Rick returned to what he loved and has been doing it ever since. Rick's career has spanned a plethora of media outlets, including community journalism, sports, entertainment, politics and more. He's worked in print, broadcast and online media. He also spent several years doing public relations for a children's home in East Texas - still writing on the side, of course. When he's not writing, Rick loves to play golf and do Bigfoot research. He's an avid believer. He also made his first hole-in-one in June of 2020. Rick is married to Junell Mauch. They have five children and three granddaughters

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