Alternative discipline: Helping disruptive children stay in school

12 Nov

Moi wrote in Inappropriate discipline: The first step on the road to education failure:

Joan Gausted of the University of Oregon has an excellent article in Eric Digest 78, School Discipline

School discipline has two main goals: (1) ensure the safety of staff and students, and (2) create an environment conducive to learning. Serious student misconduct involving violent or criminal behavior defeats these goals and often makes headlines in the process. However, the commonest discipline problems involve noncriminal student behavior (Moles 1989).

The issue for schools is how to maintain order, yet deal with noncriminal student behavior and keep children in school.

Alan Schwartz has a provocative article in the New York Times about a longitudinal study of discipline conducted in Texas. In School Discipline Study Raises Fresh Questions  Schwartz reports:

Raising new questions about the effectiveness of school discipline, a report scheduled for release on Tuesday found that 31 percent of Texas students were suspended off campus or expelled at least once during their years in middle and high school — at an average of almost four times apiece.

Donna St. George has written a Washington Post article which elaborates on the Texas study.

In the article, Study shows wide varieties in discipline methods among very similar schools, St. George reports:

The report, released Tuesday, challenges a common misperception that the only way schools can manage behavior is through suspension, said Michael D. Thompson, a co-author of the report, done by the Council of State Governments Justice Center and Texas A&M University’s Public Policy Research Institute. “The bottom line is that schools can get different outcomes with very similar student bodies,” he said. “School administrators and school superintendents and teachers can have a dramatic impact….”

The results showed that suspension or expulsion greatly increased a student’s risk of being held back a grade, dropping out or landing in the juvenile justice system. Such ideas have been probed in other research, but not with such a large population and across a lengthy period, experts said. http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/study-exposes-some-some-myths-about-school-discipline/2011/07/18/gIQAV0sZMI_story.html?wpisrc=emailtoafriend

Family First Aid has a good discussion about the types of behavior problems that result in suspension or expulsion.  Dore Francis has a guide, which lists what parents should do if their child is suspended. The guide gives detailed instructions to these steps and other steps. Francis also lists what questions to ask after meeting with school officials. https://drwilda.com/2011/12/13/inappropriate-discipline-the-first-step-on-the-road-to-education-failure/

Nirvi Shah has written the interesting Education Week report, Suspended in School: Punished But Still Learning about alternative discipline methods:

Some of the students at Success Academy here are doing International Baccalaureate-level work. Most of the classes have just five or six students. And every nine weeks, groups of students are required to make major presentations to their classmates and hand in thick binders full of even more- detailed reports.

But this Baltimore public high school isn’t for elite students. Admission depends on whether students have done something so serious a regular district school won’t have them anymore: assaulting classmates or staff members, possessing or distributing drugs, or wielding weapons.

The school, serving as many as 100 students at a time, costs more than $1.2 million a year to run, but the district, which houses the program at its headquarters, says keeping students learning and in school—somewhere—while they are serving out a suspension or have been kicked out of their own schools is far less expensive than the alternative.

“The idea of children being out of school makes no sense,” said Karen Webber-Ndour, Baltimore’s executive director of the office of student support and safety. But at the same time, the district acknowledges that students may have to leave their home school for some offenses.

School-based discipline options like this one are being tried in schools nationwide as a substitute for punishments that force students out of school, which have been shown to disproportionately affect black, Latino, and male students and those with disabilities.

While in-school suspension may be an old standby, schools seem to be putting their own stamp on it. Whether those spaces are staffed by certified teachers or aides varies, and some schools don’t have classroom space to spare for something that might be heavily used one day and not at all the next. Other disciplinary configurations include Saturday classes, evening programs, and lunchtime interventions. In some cases, behavioral-health specialists are available on demand to work with students, keeping them in school rather than suspending them. http://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2012/11/07/11inschool_ep.h32.html?tkn=OQXF4T7wRzd%2BfDTAENRdHmICQyIk7%2FNisjS1&cmp=clp-edweek&intc=es

The whole child approach is useful in keeping many children in school.

Moi wrote in The ‘whole child’ approach to education: Many children do not have a positive education experience in the education system for a variety of reasons. Many educators are advocating for the “whole child” approach to increase the number of children who have a positive experience in the education process. https://drwilda.com/2012/02/10/the-whole-child-approach-to-education/

In order to ensure that ALL children have a basic education, we must take a comprehensive approach to learning.

A healthy child in a healthy family who attends a healthy school in a healthy neighborhood ©

See:

Education Law Center

Discipline In Schools: What Works and What Doesn’t?

Justice for Children and Youth has a pamphlet I’m being expelled from school – what are my rights?

Related:

Report: Black students more likely to be suspended https://drwilda.com/2012/08/07/report-black-students-more-likely-to-be-suspended/

Johns Hopkins study finds ‘Positive Behavior Intervention’ improves student behavior                                                   https://drwilda.com/2012/10/22/johns-hopkins-study-finds-positive-behavior-intervention-improves-student-behavior/

Pre-kindergarten programs help at-risk students prepare for school                                                                                    http://drwilda.com/2012/07/16/pre-kindergarten-programs-help-at-risk-students-prepare-for-school/

A strategy to reduce school suspensions: ‘School Wide Positive Behavior Support’                                                     https://drwilda.com/2012/07/01/a-strategy-to-reduce-school-suspensions-school-wide-positive-behavior-support/

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