Sylvia Farber from 101 Advocacy Shares Behavior and Discipline Tips
First, some background information:
Exclusionary practices like suspensions and alternative schools don’t work.
In fact, studies have suggested a correlation between exclusionary discipline policies and an array of serious educational, economic, and social problems, including school avoidance and diminished educational engagement; decreased academic achievement; increased behavior problems; increased likelihood of dropping out; substance abuse; and involvement with juvenile justice systems.
Suspensions and detentions are not positive behavioral strategies.
Research indicates that EACH additional suspension further decreases a student’s odds of graduating high school by 20%. Furthermore, students suspended or expelled for minor offenses were three times as likely as their peers to have contact with the juvenile justice system within a year of the punishment. Additionally, segregation of students who break rules with students who also break rules can increase negative behavior. In 2014, Office of Civil Rights issued new guidelines recommending schools revise discipline policies to move away form zero tolerance policies.
Alternatives to Exclusionary Practices:
- build relationship and rapport; offer grace
- have student problem solve conflict and consequence
- goal setting and frequent check-ins regarding progress toward goals
- skill development- instruction in skills lacking that contribute to problem
- use of natural consequences-cause and effect
- use of logical consequences- directly related to behavior (e.g. consequence for
- food fight not suspension, instead cleaning area)
- counseling services
- restorative group conferencing (i.e. healing circles, small groups)
- use of behavioral strategies- done for the student; not to the student
If exclusionary practices are being utilized and/or behavioral strategies are not working, consider asking for a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) and Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) by a district specialist. If an FBA has already been completed, consider asking for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). An IEE is done by a private 3rd party but paid for by the district.