Discipline is a challenge for schools and for families alike. If the schools don’t manage behavioral issues, students will have a less effective learning environment. This behavior can go back to the home and continue to cause issues. If schools manage behavioral issues excessively, students will be creatively stunted, unable to have any autonomy in their education. This can also cause issues for the teachers by having to monitor students’ every movement to follow through with an excessive discipline plan.
The level of discipline isn’t the only issue; discipline also needs to happen holistically. The current practices in the county for the county-wide discipline plan focus on the punishment. This ignores the root causes of the behavior. Without determining why students are behaving the way the do, we won’t be able to help them change this behavior in any meaningful way.
Disciplining holistically needs to be a county-wide approach that is the same across schools. While there are differences in teaching styles and administration practices, most behaviors should have the same process and type of consequences so students have the same experience no matter where they are in the county. As of right now, the only mandatory actions from the schools by the county discipline plan are: reporting and referring to law enforcement, confiscation, referring to support staff or a community agency or the SRO, parent conference, out-of-school suspension, recommendation for expulsion (not actual expulsion), and threat assessment.
These are the only behaviors that require mandatory actions from the schools:
ACTS: Having a toy weapon or imitation weapon; having or using matches, lighters, firearms, smoke or stink bombs, laser pens, over-the-counter medication, or other unauthorized material; possession or use of tobacco products or look-like products.
ACTS:physical violence where the other person does not retaliate; theft or accessory to theft; major disruption or riot; arson; false fire alarm; extortion or robbery; violation of any other criminal laws; defacing or destroying school or personal property valued at $1000 or more; sexual conduct
RESPONSE: refer and report to law enforcement.
ACTS: using or possessing or selling or purchasing or distributing alcohol or controlled substances or drug-related paraphernalia or substances represented as drugs
RESPONSE: refer and report to law enforcement and confiscation.
ACTS: having weapons; bomb threat or hoax or threat of use of firearm.
RESPONSE: refer and report to law enforcement, out-of-school suspension, recommendation for expulsion.
ACT: sexual harassment
RESPONSE: refer to school support staff or a community agency or SRO.
ACT: intimidating staff or students or threatening with violence or sexual assault
RESPONSE: refer and report to law enforcement, threat assessment, refer to school support staff or community agency or SRO
ACT: bullying or harassment or hazing of staff or students
RESPONSE: parent conference
ACT: having dangerous objects
RESPONSE: refer to law enforcement, confiscate
I plan to work with each school to create a discipline plan that more accurately depicts our situation, protects our students, and works for every single school.
Paid by Kassie Hutchinson, Nonpartisan, for Pasco County School Board, District 5
Copyright © 2017 Soul Attitude Press