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Gradebook podcast: A drop in student referrals is a good thing. Right?

Some Pinellas County teachers raise concerns that the data mask reality.
This Times chart shows a significant drop in disciplinary referrals in the Pinellas County school system over the five school years from 2013-14 to 2018-19. Administrators say the decline is evidence of a better climate in schools. But many teachers say the district's emphasis on cutting referrals is making it harder for them to control their classes.
Published Aug. 15
Updated Aug. 15

Over five years, the Pinellas County, Florida, school district has seen the number of student disciplinary actions drop by almost half.

You might think that means kids are behaving better, and schools are running more smoothly. District leaders like to credit the decline to new programs aimed at dealing with problems before they get out of control.

But some teachers say that’s not necessarily what’s happening.

Hear Tampa Bay Times reporter Megan Reeves discuss with Jeff Solochek what she learned while looking into the numbers.

RELATED: Pinellas schools are disciplining far fewer students. Is that a good thing?

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