mansfield gate

The Glynn County Board of Education approved a work bid recently that allows installation to begin on gates across Mansfield Street at Glynn Academy. The gates are part of a plan to fence off the school and make it more secure. Glynn Academy has a unique, open campus layout that stretches across a few active streets in downtown Brunswick.

The Glynn County Board of Education approved at a meeting Tuesday a bid proposal that will allow work to begin on gating off a portion of Glynn Academy’s campus.

Gates will be installed on the portion of Mansfield Street that runs through Glynn Academy’s campus, which will complete the enclosure of the entire campus. New fencing and the gate installation are part of a larger effort to better secure the high school campus, which has an open layout similar to that of a college campus.

The school board unanimously approved the $99,753 proposal of local company TJR Group, which will complete the construction of the gate based on a design by Glynn County Schools architect John Tuten. TJR Group submitted the only proposal for consideration.

The estimated completion date for the project is Oct. 15.

The action item was added to the consent agenda and was not discussed during the meeting Tuesday evening. The project was discussed more in-depth during a work session held Tuesday morning.

During the work session, the school board also received updates on safety and security in schools as well as on student discipline data from the previous school year.

Safety training is taking place with staff across the school system, including receptionists, faculty members, bus drivers and school resource officers.

A safety grant from the state will make $30,000 available to fund safety improvements at school sites this year, said Jim Pulos, assistant superintendent for operations and administrative services for Glynn County Schools.

The addition of gates on Mansfield Street is one of many planned safety improvements, Pulos said.

The school board reviewed the number of discipline incidents during the 2018-19 school year. Work session attendees talked at length about areas of concern based on the numbers, including the disproportionality of referrals made of African American students compared to the number of referrals of white students.

“When you look at the difference between the number of referrals overall and the population of that particular representation, you have to be a little bit concerned when you have high disparities between the two,” Pulos said.

Disparities are clear at the systemwide level, based on the data Pulos presented to the school board. About 64 percent of total referrals were given to black students, who make up only 34 percent of the entire student population. About 23 percent of referrals were given to white students, who make up about 46 percent of the student population.

Gender disparities are also apparent, particularly among elementary-aged students.

About 79 percent of elementary school students who received referrals were male. That rate drops to 67 percent in middle school and 54 percent in high school.

A small number of students also receive a large portion of the referrals. About 4 percent of the student population make up 57 percent of referrals, Pulos said. And about 79 percent of students in the school system have zero referrals.

“As we start a school year out, we need to address what we can do to intervene for those particular students,” Pulos said.

Community involvement as well as improvement of cultural awareness among teachers and staff in schools will be required to address the issue of disproportionality, Pulos said.

School board member Linda Bobbitt questioned the reasons for the high disproportionality, and board member John Madala said he’d like to know what specific ways the school system plans to make changes that address this.

This problem is faced in schools across the nation, Pulos said.

“And it would be nice to be the ones to solve it,” Madala said.

In other business, the school board also approved the renewal of several contracts for school resources, including Infinite Campus, a data reporting system called USHA and a security camera purchase. They also approved the tribunal training outline and the tabling of several policy changes.

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