Alternative Schools for Suspended Students

Disruptive Behavior in School: Disciplinary Problem or Psycological-Emotional Problem

I would like to tell a little about my qualifications and experience in the area of human behavior. At the present time, I am a high school teacher. I have been teaching criminal justice courses in high school for the last four years. I also taught one year in an alternative school in the same district where some students are “walking time bombs” ready to explode violently at any thing or anyone that triggers them into a rage.

I have a B.S. Degree in Criminal Justice and Police Science and hold an expired chemical dependency counselor license in the state of Texas from Saint Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. I have six years experience as a chemical dependency counselor. I also have five years experience as a police officer, twelve years experience as a justice of the peace, and eight years experience as a county judge in the state of Texas.

In almost all of the work I have done, I have handled persons with all kinds of addictions and dependencies. This includes students with disruptive behavior problems. When it comes down to disruptive behavior in the classroom, it appears that in some cases, if not most of them, student need a psychological treatment program instead of a putting them through a disciplinary process since the student will not respond to the disciplinary continuum which includes detention, in-house suspension, and home suspension.

I have interviewed some students who constantly disrupt classes and get into fights and other kinds of trouble. At first they deny the problem, but after I use some communication techniques, they finally reveal their addiction to disruptive conduct.
I had one student admit to me that he enjoyed getting into trouble and could not last more than a day or two without being disruptive in the classroom or getting into some kind of trouble. This type of problem is normally sent to the vice principle in charge of discipline or the academic counselor who is not qualified to handle this type of case.

This type of situation calls for a school district to be equipped with the necessary qualified personnel to handle these types of emotional problems. The emotions, values, priorities, and attitude (mindset) of this type of student are inconsistent with those of a student that responds to a disciplinary procedure. In some cases, disruptive behavior is caused by an innate factor or is a learned pattern that can be interrupted and corrected by the school’s disciplinary process. In many cases, it is an addiction to the pleasure (perhaps endorphins) of relieving stress (pain), tension, and/or the attention the student gets for his disruptive conduct. This type of student cannot be redirected in a normal manner.

I had situations in which straight A students disrupt my class, but they can be redirected since they respond to my request to settle down. Respect for authority and rules is a factor required on the part of the student in order for the teacher to redirect a particular student’s disruptive behavior. This is what the typical disruptive student does not have and has learned that no pain will come to him for his disruptive conduct. This is the type of student that eventually is placed in an alternative school where he will receive intensive supervision and a contract where he pledges to conduct himself in an appropriate manner. If not, the next stop for that school year is the street: expulsion from the social setting he enjoys until the next school year.