There have been many debates over discipline and student rights. Consistent and firm discipline in high school is one of the things most needed in this country. Discipline will work if all parties are taken into respect. Just as a parent teaches consistency of discipline in the home so should consistency exist in the school. This is so students do not have to guess what is to be expected of them.
Ask a student what they want all joking aside and most students will reply to be respected and educated in a safe environment. Just how do we as a nation develop a place where students can feel safe to learn? It starts with forming rules which respect both students and faculty.
In forming these rules there are a few basic ones which should be in place such as: no weapons, no alcohol or drugs, and respecting others (a wide range of rules are obvious). Students should then be allowed to create three to five rules in each classroom. Students rebel against rules because the rules are made to hold them into place. When students feel a part of this process they are more willing to go along with these rules and all others.
It is also important to keep the list of rules to a minimum of ten. There are reasons there is just Ten Commandments. Too many rules and students will feel suffocated and wish to rebel. It is important to remember there is a difference between rules and procedures. Rules are to be followed for safety and respect. Procedures should be practiced daily to aid students in following rules.
Discipline should be handled with decorum. This is a practice of fairness not fear. One of the best disciplines for high school students is the glass detention and in school detention room. In other words, students who are in detention or in school detention are kept in a place where they are visible to the entire student body. This could be an actual glass room, lunch room, or stage. Why does this work? Students don’t like to be embarrassed and one taste of this students get their fill.
When the rules are laid out in the beginning of the school year their consequences should be as well. There should be no room for interpretation by any faculty, student, or family member. These should be followed to the letter. In this way all students would know what to expect. This protects both students and faculty. This also creates classrooms with decorum of respect where learning is able to be conducted.
Faculty should remember that for minor offenses students do deserve second chances once they demonstrate they are willing to follow the rules. If faculty does not give second chances to students then students will not have a chance to prove themselves.
Through consistent and firm discipline faculty create a safe and respectful environment in which students can learn. Most students desire to learn. Few truly want to be in school to simply cause trouble. When students realize rules are to be followed and their consequences are consistent they will learn to follow these rules. Students need rules which are consistent instead of having to guess what they are supposed to do. Inconsistency does not work in the home, why would it work in the school system? This brings up another issue. Out of school suspension is not a good idea. This gives certain students what they want which is to not be in school. This is a reward for causing trouble which is likely to get the same offense repeated.
To have a successful school year students should be included in making the rules. Rules should be followed consistently with a firm hand as not to surprise anyone. Rules should be spelled out with no room for interpretation. Teachers should document everything. This is important to create a safe place and advocate learning.