Reset rooms help Shelby County Schools students turn negative behavior to positive

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Shelby County Schools is helping students turn negative energy into positive progress.

The district uses what they call ReSet Rooms, where behavioral specialists work with students who may be experiencing bullying, problems at home and other issues.

The district said it hopes prevention through intervention will stop the culture of bullying and behavior problems.

The ReSet rooms help students calm anger and get to the root of a problem.

Clarence Shaw, a District Response Intervention Behavioral Support Specialist with SCS, said the rooms remove a student from their peers and helps them be more open.

“They also develop trust with the person they’re meeting with one-on-one,” Shaw said.

SCS began using the ReSet rooms two years ago.

The district had experienced a record number of suspensions and expulsions over three to four years.

Shaw said expulsions and suspensions have decreased significantly since SCS began using the rooms.

“We use our behavioral data bases our referrals from teachers and forward working with those students and intervening early being proactive,” he said.

In 2020, schools with reset rooms reported suspensions declined by 15 percent from the previous year.

Over the last year the district has hired more behavioral support specialists and ReSet room coordinators to provide more resources for students.

With more overall behavioral resources on board, Shaw said the goal is to prevent violent behavior from entering the school.

“Overall, when it comes to providing support for our students our primary goal is to respond to behavioral challenges with intervention,” Shaw said.

Shaw said behavioral specialists can pick up on several thing, like if a child is angry due to being bullied or experiencing mental issues.

“So the dialog with the student can give them that information to see what is triggering the anger,” he said.

Shaw said the rooms serve as a great tool to find out if a child needs more help outside of school.

“It gives us an opportunity to be proactive, especially if a kid is upset,” he said.

Parent Deidre Lathan said her daughter dealt with bullying in school.

“It can be the slightest change in a kid, they don’t smile as much as they use to in class,” she said about the bullying.

Lathan said she hopes the ReSet rooms deal with both the bullied and the bully.

“Sometimes the kid that’s being bullied by one finds someone smaller than them to bully,” she said.

SCS said it has more than 110 ReSet rooms in schools.

The district has spent over $1 million on the rooms this school year.