NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Almost two months into the school year and some districts are noticing an alarming trend— more fights among students.
The North Little Rock School District Superintendent, Dr. Gregory J. Pilewski, said they're seeing an uptick in kids acting out more, but they're already working on a solution for this issue.
"We just wanted to get out in front and really be transparent with our public, our community, about what we're seeing and about what we're doing about it," he said.
School discipline data recently released by the North Little Rock School District has administrators, like Pilewski, on alert.
"We're seeing what some trends are across the United States, which include bullying harassment, profanity, and we have seen an uptick in fighting," he said.
Pilewski said it's happening some at the elementary level, but it's mostly in the middle and high schools; specifically in the ninth grade.
He believes the pandemic is not an excuse, but they are seeing the impact of COVID-19 on students and how that plays into the classroom environment.
"We definitely have a heightened awareness and we want to continue to monitor that and make sure that we're wrapping our arms around our students and getting them the support that they need," Pilewski said.
One step the district is taking to give their students that support is through an adult-youth mentoring program.
It's an idea Pilewski said the district talked about last year with the North Little Rock church community.
"We're asking for the community support to be a mentor to our students and we need them at the elementary, the middle school, and the high school level. We need both males and females," he said.
By engaging more kids with a trusted adult, Pilewski believes this will let them better understand exactly what their students are going through and help them make decisions that don't resort to violence.
"We believe that this is a really good strategy that we believe can make some inroads with our students," he said.
The district will be holding training sessions for anyone interested in the adult-youth mentoring program on Wednesday, Oct. 27 at 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., and Monday, Nov. 8 at 6 p.m.
For more information on the program, you can call (501) 771-8013.
Also, Pilewski will take part in a town hall to talk about the behavior they're seeing inside schools with the North Little Rock Police Department Chief and a counselor.
The meetings will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 25, and Tuesday, Oct. 26.