Student Discipline in Schools: Part of the Problem or the Solution?

Studies have shown that some forms of punishment can have an adverse affect on student well-being. School disciplinary practices like suspensions may make students fall behind and increase their negative behavior. More and more school districts and local officials around the country are considering revising their student disciplinary policies.

The efforts reflect a change in the approach to fostering a positive school climate that has gained support as additional research has come out on the impact on certain punishments on children. An increasing number of organizations have begun supporting alternatives to long-used methods of student punishment like expulsion, suspension, restraint and seclusion. Most notably, the Department of Education has begun actively promoting school environments that are safe, supportive and conductive to learning.

As part of the Rethink Discipline initiative to promote safe schools, the federal government encourages superintendents to make school discipline data and policies accessible to the public and to conduct school climate surveys with students. Legal efforts have also been conducted to reform student punishment in many states.

The Ohio teachers union opposes that bill and prefers to punish students on a case by case basis, reports wkyc. Additionally, Seattle schools have placed a one-year moratorium on elementary school suspensions, and Miami-Dade Schools Fla.

A joint Dept. After a report showed that schools in Kentucky restrained students 6, times in the school year, some called for schools in the state to adopt the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support approach to student discipline, which focuses on positive reinforcements like mentoring and counseling services. Stephen Pruitt told wave3.

There have also been reports showing that certain punitive measures disproportionately affect students of color, students with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ community. Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. Campus Safety magazine is another great resource for public safety, security and emergency management professionals. It covers all aspects of campus safety, including access control, video surveillance, mass notification and security staff practices. How to choose a secure and user friendly access control system that aligns with student expectations.

school discipline policy

Crisis response can be a weak spot for many campuses. Learn how to manage tasks, share response plans and maintain command and control over response teams during a crisis. Privacy Policy Terms of Use. Search for:. For Parents. February 16, Zach Winn.

School support services can be improved by collaborating with local mental health, child welfare, law enforcement, public housing and juvenile justice agencies. Improve staff de-escalation training as well as training on engaging with students in ways that support positive, productive behaviors.

Try pilot programs for student discipline at individual schools and evaluate their effectiveness. Prioritize transparency, continuous improvement and communication with students, teachers and families.

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Already Signed Up? Email Logging InMost administrators spend a significant portion of their time addressing school discipline and student behavior. While there is no fast way to eliminate all discipline-related problems, there are steps you can take to make your school's policies more effective and efficient. However, the key factor of running a successful school—before implementing any type of disciplinary procedures—is identifying to yourself and your staff the school's overall vision and mission.

As such, the biggest game-changer can be switching your mindset from focusing on enforcing certain behavioral rules and consequences and working instead toward transforming your school's culture and creating a more proactive and positive environment.

As an administrator, there are several things you can do to not only deter poor choices and bad student behaviors but to promote a positive atmosphere with minimal disruptions in the learning process.

The following guidelines are meant to assist principals in establishing effective school discipline. They will not eliminate all discipline-related issues, but they can help reduce them. Furthermore, these steps will contribute to making the discipline process efficient and fluid.

There is no exact science for handling student behavior. Every student and every issue are different, and principals must account for variations in each situation. It is important that you let your teachers know what your expectations are as far as classroom management and student discipline. Your teachers should know what kinds of discipline issues you expect them to handle in class and what issues you expect them to send to your office. They should also know what consequences are acceptable for them to hand out when dealing with smaller student discipline problems.

If you require a discipline referral formyour teachers should understand how you expect them to fill it out and what kinds of information you are expecting to be included. A definite plan should be in place for how a major discipline issue that occurs in the classroom should be handled. If your teachers are on the same page as you when it comes to school discipline, then your school will run smoothly and efficiently.

It is also crucial for your teachers to feel that you have their back when they send you a discipline referral. Establishing trust with teachers enables better communication so that you can provide constructive criticism when it becomes necessary.

The truth is that some teachers abuse the discipline process by sending every student who is even slightly out of line to the office. While these teachers can be frustrating to deal with, you should still back them to some degree.

You never want a student to feel like they can play the teacher against you or vice versa. If a situation occurs where you believe a teacher is sending too many referralsthen fall back on the relationship you have with them, explain the pattern you are seeing, and go back over the plan that teachers are expected to follow. As an administrator, you should not expect every student, parent, or teacher to like you. You are in a position where it is virtually impossible not to ruffle feathers.

The key is earning respect. Respect will go a long way in being a strong leader, especially if you can prove to be both consistent and fair in your discipline decisions.

For example, if a student commits a particular discipline infraction and you give out punishment, then it should be handled similarly when another student commits a similar offense. The exception to this is if the student has had multiple infractions or creates consistent discipline issues, in which case you may have to up the consequences accordingly. The single most important thing to do during the entirety of the discipline process is to document issues.

Documenting has several benefits. It protects you and the teachers involved should a particular discipline case ever render legal action. By documenting every case you see, you can begin noticing certain patterns—which students are referred the most, which teachers refer the most students, for what types of infractions, and what time of day the majority of discipline referrals occur.

With this information, it will be easier to make changes and adjustments to try to correct problems the data shows you. An advantage of being a school administrator is that when a student is sent to you on a discipline referralyou are generally in a calm frame of mind.

Teachers sometimes make rash decisions because the student has provoked them in some way and sending them to the office allows a third party to deal with the situation. Sometimes this is necessary, especially when a teacher recognizes that they may be too emotionally vested when dealing with a particular student. Sometimes a student needs time to calm down as well.

Feel out the student when they come into your office.To encourage the limited use of suspension, expulsion and other punishments that remove students from instruction; and offer recommendations for alternative methods to address school discipline.

Any strategy to reduce suspensions and expulsions must be part of a comprehensive schoolwide effort to improve the quality of classroom instruction accompanied by efforts to create conditions where students are meaningfully engaged in the school community and come to school ready to learn. Schools have a responsibility to model and teach students methods of exerting authority and modifying behavior that are constructive, humane, and provide opportunities for growth.

School discipline in the eyes of superintendents. Advancement Project Model school discipline policy. Center for Civil Rights Remedies A summary of new research: Closing the school discipline gap. Council of State Governments Justice Center The school discipline consensus report: Strategies from the field to keep students engaged in school and out of the juvenile justice system.

Are some U.S. school discipline policies too punitive?

Diaz, J. Kicked out! Losen, Daniel J. Opportunities suspended: The disparate impact of disciplinary exclusion from school. National Association of Secondary School Principals Breaking ranks : The comprehensive framework for school improvement. National Juvenile Justice Network Safe and effective school disciplinary policies and practices. Nishioka, Vicki April Eliminating disparities in school discipline. Principal Leadership. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights Civil rights data collection: Data snapshot school discipline.

Department of Justice and U.Department of Education. Various data sources show clearly that students with disabilities and students of color are disproportionately impacted by such practices. According to the Civil Rights Data Collectionblack students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students, while students with disabilities are twice as likely to receive an out-of-school suspension as their non-disabled peers.

Sources of discipline data and research can be found here. Yet disparities persist.

What is Positive School Discipline?

Students of color remain more likely to be identified as having a disability and face harsher discipline than their white classmates. The U. Department of Education took a critical step towards addressing these widespread disparities in the treatment of students of color with disabilities by proposing a new Equity in IDEA Rule. Press Release. This report provides a set of tables showing the number and percentage of school districts that would be identified with significant disproportionality if ED's example risk ratio thresholds were adopted by all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Data Tables : [ Excel1. Department of Education's primary data source on monitoring educational programs and services for civil rights compliance. Discipline Snapshot, State data about the infants and toddlers who receive early intervention services and children with disabilities who receive special education and related services.

This includes information about disciplinary removals of students with disabilities, ages Discipline Data Tables.

Search for:. Toggle navigation U. Student Loans Grants Laws Data. Of the 49 million students enrolled in public schools in 3. Printable view. How Do I Find Information About No Related Topics Found.

Our mission is to promote student achievement and preparation for global competitiveness by fostering educational excellence and ensuring equal access. Explore two maps illustrating out-of-school suspensions across the country.

Demographic Map Description All Students. Previous: Home. Next: Know the Law.Secondary schools suspend or expel two million students each year, mostly for non-violent offenses such as disruption, disrespect, tardiness and dress code violations. Studies also find that positive approaches to school discipline at all ages can actually improve students' academic performance, and those students are less likely to become involved in the juvenile justice system or have need for behavioral services.

Recently the U. Department of Education issued guidelines that recommended public school officials use new approaches to help reduce the time students spend out of school as punishment. We also hear from the students themselves. All public and private educational settings should provide nurturing environments that support student learning and development. Unfortunately, some students with emotional and behavioral challenges and disorders experience seclusion or restraint instead.

The Cleveland School District and AIR implemented a districtwide effort to improve safety, order, and conditions for learning, including social and emotional competence, connectedness to caring adults and peers, and the experience of emotional and physical safety.

Findings included improved conditions for learning, better attendance, decreased disruptive behavior, and fewer suspensions. Today, nearly 95, youth under the age of 21 are in custody in publicly and privately operated facilities in the U.

Increasingly, youth are finding themselves involved in the juvenile justice system as a result of school-related conduct. AIR provides a comprehensive approach to training, on-site coaching, and program oversight to realize positive results from the Good Behavior Game. Bymore than teachers will be trained, and more than 7, children will have been reached. The Good Behavior Game GBG is a team-based classroom behavior management strategy that helps young children master the role of student while developing the discipline needed to sit still, pay attention and complete their school work.

Skip to main content. You are here Home Our Topics Education. School Discipline. Latest Work. Building Safe, Engaging, and Equitable Schools. There are no quick fixes or easy solutions to respond to the tragedies that have occurred in schools across the country—but there are evidence-based ways to change school environments so that students and teachers feel safer.

Explore these selected resources, tools, and reports to discover our research and technical assistance on SEL practices. According to data from the Indicators of School Crime and Safety report, inabout 15 percent of U.

school discipline policy

These percentages were lower than the international averages of 16 and 8 percent; this infographic breaks down the differences by country. In the Field. Reducing School Suspensions and Expulsions in Michigan. Statewide suspension rates in Michigan were high, and discipline policies in many schools were in direct conflict with its priority of reducing barriers to learning.

With support from the Great Lakes Comprehensive Center, the Michigan Department of Education formed the Michigan School Discipline Task Force into develop a model policy on reducing suspensions and expulsions using alternative discipline strategies; a revised model student code of conduct; and an online toolkit for schools and districts on how to implement the new policy and code.

The achievement gap, which refers to the disparity in academic performance between groups of students, is a pressing issue facing K education.Schools should provide students with the educational foundation to build successful, independent lives.

Classroom disruptions interfere with student achievement. A combination of methods used in a consistent and fair manner typically offers the best approach to classroom discipline.

Parents make a difference in student achievement and behavior. Schools should institute policies requiring teachers to contact parents periodically through the year. Half-term or end-of-term reports are often not enough. Calling takes time, but parents can often provide solutions to difficult classroom problems. While not all parental involvement will be positive or have a measurable effect on student behavior, many successful schools use this approach.

Discipline plans provide students with acknowledged consequences for misbehavior. Effective classroom management should include the dissemination and use of a discipline plan. Teacher training on implementation along with periodic reviews can encourage the consistent and fair application of behavior standards.

If they slack off on discipline, it becomes apparent over time and misbehavior typically increases.

American Institutes for Research

If a teacher ignores misbehavior in the classroom, it will increase. If administrators fail to support the teachers, they could easily lose control of the situation. Some students need controlled environments where they can learn without distracting the wider school community.

If one student continually disrupts a class and shows an unwillingness to improve his behavior, he might need to be removed from the situation for the sake of the rest of the students in the class.

school discipline policy

Moving students to new classes that can be controlled at the school level can also help in some situations. Students must believe that teachers and administrators are fair in their disciplinary actions.

While some extenuating circumstances require administrators to make adjustments for individual students, in general, students who misbehave should be treated similarly. Discipline in schools can evoke the image of administrators stopping fights before they begin or dealing with hostile students in a classroom setting. However, effective discipline begins with the implementation of schoolwide housekeeping policies that all teachers must follow.

For example, if a school implements a tardy policy that all teachers and administrators follow, tardies will likely decrease. If teachers are expected to handle these situations on a case-by-case basis, some will do a better job than others and tardies will have a tendency to increase.

From administrators to guidance counselors and teachers, schools must institute high expectations for both academic achievement and behavior.Kingsley Elementary School has established clear expectations for behavior within the school environment in order to support the learning community. Adherence to these expectations contributes to a positive and effective school community in which children are able to succeed and grow.

Please refer to the attached chart of specific rules and expectations. This commitment includes both comprehensive and effective lesson planning and instruction, and the establishment of a positive learning environment with clear expectations for student behavior for both the classroom and the school setting. At the start of each school year, teachers are responsible for establishing, with the input of their students, a clear set of positively stated classroom behavior expectations.

Further, they are responsible for establishing and consistently applying a set of clear consequences for behaviors —both positive and negative- in the classroom. Teachers are expected to demonstrate regular focus and attention to developing these behaviors in students. They will provide a model of appropriate behavior, as well as provide explicit instruction in the school expectations on a monthly basis utilizing multiple teaching strategies including, but not limited to, role-play and simulation.

The entire staff at Kingsley accepts responsibility for guiding the behaviors of ALL children within the school setting. Finally, all staff is expected to communicate in a positive manner with parents and students on a regular basis about student performance and behavior in school, and to document these interactions. Students : Students at Kingsley Elementary are expected to be familiar with all behavioral expectations, both school-wide and in their respective classrooms.

Students must take responsibility for their own learning and their behavioral choices that contribute to their safety and the safety of others. They are expected to abide by these guidelines in all that they do on the school campus in order to create a peaceful and productive learning environment. Parents are responsible for ensuring that their children arrive at school each morning in a timely fashion, ready to learn. When consequences for inappropriate student behavior must be implemented at school, parents should follow up at home to be sure the behavior does not reoccur.

This applies to all kinds of weapons, including replica and toy weapons. Code Phone: School Discipline Policy. Visit Us. Stay seated until dismissed Throw all trash away Leave your table area clean. Use quiet voices and good manners when eating Keep your hands and feet to yourself. Follow the traffic pattern in the lunch line Keep food on your plate. Recycle items in their appropriate bin. Play in appropriate areas Walk to and from areas Keep hands and feet to yourself.

Show kindness to everyone Follow the rules of the game Play fair. When the bell rings, walk to your line and wait quietly Return the sports equipment to its appropriate place. Flush toilet and wash your hands One person to a stall Keep water in the sink. Use the restroom and then return to your classroom promptly Conserve supplies toilet paper, water, soap.