Suspended futures: finding better school discipline methods

Some schools reconsider suspension as a corrective measure

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  • Transaction7 Commerce, Texas
    March 25, 2013 9:00 p.m.

    Back when I was in segregated public grade school in Texas in the forties and fifties, and desegregated 7-12 in Pennsylvania the fifties, all in small college and university towns, back before teachers were limited to slavishly following lesson plans and "teaching the test," and could and did impart valuable knowledge and wisdom as things came up, teachers in Texas told us in grade school that suspensions, especially long suspensions, sometimes imposed, were typically counter-productive. The paddle was used but I don't recall it, or detention, actually being used that often in grade school, and unruly students in junior high and high school typically elected a few "swats" in preference to detention. We had all socio-economic groups and never saw the kind of trouble common in schools today.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    March 20, 2013 10:05 a.m.

    Wow! I actually find myself agreeing with Worf and RedShirt. And all the other posters here so far.

    I received three good whacks from the Board of Education in 8th Grade. Never needed it again.

    Once, while teaching in a Utah school, I came across a boy peeing into a sink in the restroom. He had to call his mother and explain exactly what had happened. Instead of trying to pass responsibility off, his mother dragged the poor kid back to school every day for a week after school. Using cleaning materials he had to purchase with his own money, he cleaned all six restrooms in the school from top to bottom. They sparkled when he finished.

    Want to bet he ever tried that stunt again? If ALL parents were like that mother . . . .

    On the other hand, there were the parents who believed their boy and insisted that I was somehow throwing his homework away every day. When I started having members of the class keep a record as papers were handed in each day, they started screaming that I was "embarrassing" their son when he didn't turn it in. Their kid didn't graduate. They blamed the school.

  • Liberal Ted Salt Lake City, UT
    March 20, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    What about all of the students that are affected, by the schools inability to discipline and remove these kids that won't shape up?

    I can't count the number of hours, a disruptive student took the teachers attention, and the focus for that whole class period was dealing with that one child.

    If you're going to funnel them into the education system, then the teachers and the school needs the ability to handle these people. Rather than tying the villagers hands and allowing these kids of roam free. The villagers need their hands untied and either the kid is going to learn and shape up. Or they're going to choose to have a difficult deadend life.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    March 19, 2013 3:34 p.m.

    I got out of line ONCE in grade school. I say once because back in the day, you were taken to the wood shed if you caused trouble. Not only did my teacher give me a good slap, but my uncle, who was his friend, gave my a whack with the belt too when he found out. Say what you want about corporal punishment, but it worked on me, and many like me. You see, most of us are smart enough to know that a whipping hurts like heck and won't get into trouble a second time. However, when all that happens is a continual slap on the wrist and sent back to class, there is no reason for kids not to act up again. Take away the possibility of being suspended and now there is no reason for trouble makers to fear anyone.

  • Winglish Lehi, UT
    March 19, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    "At Horizonte, she found small classes..."
    That says it all.

  • teachermom6 Northern Utah, UT
    March 18, 2013 5:47 p.m.

    We already tie teachers hands behind their back to discipline students. If a child is a behavior problem it is a slap on their wrist and they get back into the classroom in a flash. Who are we really going to punish when there is a problem? Answer: The teacher, and the students who do behave themselves. I believe that students with persistent behavior problems should be allowed to find alternative means of education. Horizonte is one of those excellent programs. Teacher's who do choose to teach those students should be rewarded with higher pay in order to attract good candidates.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    March 18, 2013 11:53 a.m.

    This articles highlights several things.

    First, large highschools don't work. The bigger the school, the more kids fall through the cracks. Fewer students like at 2A and 3A schools is better for allowing teachers to get to know the kids and identify problems.

    This also shows the ever increasing desire of government to take the place of actual parenting. 30 years ago, if you were suspended your parents were deeply humiliated and made sure that you changed your behavior. Now, suspensions mean nothing outside of having to figure out what to do with you while they are at work.

    This also shows that failure in the home spills out into society, and until the individual decides to change there is nothing society can do to fix the problem.

  • worf Mcallen, TX
    March 18, 2013 9:58 a.m.

    Some discipline methods that do work:

    * Teacher document, and record bad student behavior.
    * With bad behavior, allow swats with parent permission, and a witness.
    * If parent won't give permission, have the student arrested for disorderly conduct, and parent to pay a fine.

    I have witnessed this method, and it works. Discipline was no longer an issue.