Police issue 122 citations to curb behavior problems at Washington Middle School

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) Green Bay Police records show school resource officers issued more citations to students at Washington Middle School than any other middle or high school in the district during the past school year.

We've been digging into records about student behavior and problems within the school after a teacher at the middle school told the school board earlier this month she was resigning, amid concerns for safety because of abuse and violence in the school.

We first told reported Tuesday that police responded to 132 calls for service at Washington in the last school year, but we wanted to know what happened after that and how many students were actually cited for behavior problems.

Green Bay Police say their school resource officers working in the middle and high schools take over problems with students when there's a safety risk, criminal activity or the schools can't control a situation.

An officer will try to talk with a student first, but if they doesn't work, they'll often issue a municipal citation.

We found, in the last school year, police issued 122 citations to students at Washington.

That's more than two and a half times as many at Franklin Middle School, which had 47 citations issued. Washington also had far more than the rest of the district's middle schools, including Edison with 34, Lombardi with 27 and Red Smith with seven.

Even compared to the high schools, there are more at Washington, with Preble the closest at 116 citations issued.

"The citations are used as a form to correct behavior," says Green Bay Police Lt. Jeff Brester. "We have options of writing warnings, writing municipal tickets. It's almost like progressive discipline."

We found the majority of citations issued at Washington were for habitual truancy (32), loitering (32), and disorderly conduct (28).

Police say loitering tickets are often issued for students who roam the halls, causing problems and won't go to class.

Three citations were also issued for battery, five for criminal damage to property, and four for harassment, which police say likely involved bullying.

We also found three citations issued for possessing a dangerous weapon on school grounds and 10 for trespassing.

"If it takes a citation to get their attention, we write a citation. Some students don't care and they push it to the next level, and that's when it goes to juvenile intake," says Brester.

More specific records are hard to obtain because of laws protecting juvenile information.

Police say these tickets, though, won't make a difference unless parents back it up with discipline.

"If you mess up in school and you violate a school rule, you have to expect consequences, because that's what is going to happen when you're an adult and you do something. There's going to be consequences for actions," adds Brester.