Reforming School Discipline
The times of corporal punishment in U.S. schools are not over. However, the new discipline trends have school districts reviewing their policies, especially regarding exclusionary discipline. According to the United States Department of Education, the number of secondary school students expelled during the school year has increased by forty percent over the last 40 years. This is a thought-provoking figure: Have kids grown to be more mischievous than they used to be?
At first glance, such an explanation seems appealing. But with a closer look, the data shows that it is not the case.
Differences in school discipline policies
A Civil Right Data collection study is truly an eye-opener: During the 2009-2010 school year, South Carolina school districts discontinued 12.7% of their students, while North Dakota only 2.2% of students.
It is hard to believe that students in North Dakota are well-behaved. Instead, these differences can be accounted for in school policies and teacher training.
We cannot say that particular school districts are likely to use exclusionary discipline on their students compared to the rest of the country. However, educators are more likely to suspend and expel African American students and students with disabilities.
Over the country, over 300 school districts suspend at least 25 percent of their students with disabilities. Over 600 school districts suspend less than 3 percent of their students with disabilities.
Without considering the ethical and moral damaging effects of such a racial and capacity difference in the exclusionary discipline data, the implications of the learner population being out of school are essential for the future of the youths in our nation.
In a Rhode Island research, just 11 percent of high school students completed their first year of college later. To complicate matters, students who are often suspended or expelled are the same danger poised students that many school districts fail to cater to adequately.
Exclusionary discipline must be used as a last resort
Many school districts encourage safety as a reason to rely on their use of exclusionary punishment. According to the United States Department of Education, 95% of the suspensions in the country are for improper misbehaviors such as disrespecting or flagging off dress code orders.
School suspensions are usually used as a prop for inexperienced educators when they should be used as a last resort. Some school districts consider giving up these bad attitudes for more restorative practices. While the 2015-2016 school year was on, 23 of the 100 largest U.S. school districts had enacted policies to block off the resurging rates of suspensions.
An instance is Hampstead Hill Academy in Baltimore. This school has started the practice of restorative justice, whereby administrators are expected to talk through disciplinary issues together at least three per week in individual classrooms and the school as a whole. This practice might be relative in schools, but it will go down to every school district, envisaging a more holistic discipline system to shift America’s school discipline culture of exclusion to restoration. Suppose this is integrated into the school system in other parts of America. In that case, it could be a case of eureka for those who have always championed a more disciplined school system.