It would be expected that by this time of the year, all classroom environments are very conducive to learning and that discipline issues are at a minimum. However, there may still be some classrooms where more work is needed in this area. When issues are not resolved, the lack of appropriate discipline. overtime. becomes a challenge for the teacher, administrator, and parent. If not dealt with, the discipline challenge may manifest itself in parent requests to have their children transferred to a different classroom or withdrawing their children from school. The longer the school delays in dealing with these discipline issues, the more serious they become, even to a point where parents may consider taking legal action against the school.
In our Christian School Resource Kit, 5th Edition there is a collection of 101 discipline techniques that I have found to be helpful in the management of classroom behavior. Each suggestion, when implemented correctly, can have a major effect upon an individual or a particular class. I have included this list on our website. You will find it on the Home Page under Newest Articles.
I would also like to share some thoughts that I presented to teachers and school administrators in one of my ORU Legal Issues courses. The information is taken from the Superintendent's Insider, Feb. 2004. "10 Ways to Get Parents on Your Side and Avoid Lawsuits.
Involve Parents in Setting Disciplinary Rules. This involves educating parents and students about the need for rules, clearly communicating the reasons for rules.
Meet with Parents Before Imposing Serious Discipline. This requires one to listen to concerns or arguments presented by parents or students. Ensure that you investigate issues brought to your attention. Review all the evidence you have before taking action.
Show that the School Followed Rules for Students with Disabilities. Review all steps already taken to change behavior. Investigate all indications of a disability not identified especially if behavior indicates the student needs special services.
Show that the Discipline is Proportionate to the Offense. In other words, ensure that the "punishment fits the crime." Don’t overreact. Don’t threaten students, explain the consequences for the inappropriate or unacceptable behavior.
Review the Steps the School Took to Give Student “Due Process.” Provide notices of the offense. Provide an opportunity for the student to respond. Hear and investigate all issues. Follow due-process for each offense.
Address Concerns About Application to College. Be proactive and address concerns with parents. Explain the policy of record purging, however, explain the need to be honest if asked. Explain the effect of discipline on changing the lives of students.
Show that the Student Was in Danger or Posed Danger. Explain why and how behavior endangered others (takes away the time of others – students, teachers, administrators). Relate the behavior to that of other students.
Show that the School Enforced Rules Fairly. Be prepared to show how you have been consistent. If valid discrimination is brought up, be sure to investigate.
Offer Educational Services and Counseling if Appropriate. Offer to provide counseling for the student or to refer the family to appropriate services. Ensure the student receives services during a suspension or expulsion.
Don’t Back Down on Discipline Just Because of Lawsuits. Enforce rules so students will be safe.
For more information on discipline, see our book on Spirit-Directed Discipline: Helping Johnny and Susie to Behave featured on Amazon.com or view our YouTube presentations.