MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Between teacher shortages, quarantines and catching students up on academics, it hasn’t been an easy year in the classroom.

But many school districts are also dealing with an increase in behavioral issues among students.

“There certainly seems to have been an increase or uptick in fights compared to a typical school year,” director of governmental affairs of the Palmetto State Teachers Association Patrick Kelly said. “What teachers are dealing with are the challenges students are facing transitioning back into something close to an ordinary school year.”

During a board meeting Thursday night, Florence 1 Schools superintendent Dr. Richard O’Malley said there’s been an 80% decrease in the number of fights since discussing and passing a no tolerance policy. The policy came after a big spike in fights in the beginning of the year, and expels students who fight.

“Schools are supposed to be the safest place for students,” O’Malley said. “And we need to address that. What we don’t want to do is get into a position where something bad happens. And then people start asking us, ‘Well, why didn’t you do anything? You knew.’ We took a hard stance, and it may not be something that is favorable.”

The policy wasn’t favorable among some community members, but O’Malley said ‘enough is enough.’

Horry County Schools hasn’t made discipline policy changes this year, but has seen an uptick in behavior issues.

The district said social media concerns have led to verbal disputes, fights, inappropriate posts and threats.

“There’s been a lot of disruptions in their lives the past two years,” Kelly said. “I think the number one policy that matters in helping students navigate behavioral issues is sufficient staffing and human resources.”

Kelly added schools need to ensure they have enough mental health resources to help students.