School Discipline Elements
Enact a discipline code that is supported by the entire school community.
A discipline code that is supported by the entire school community must be enacted and its guidelines and rules taught to all students. The plan needs to be rigorously and fairly enforced; this requires a real effort by district officials, both appointed and elected. Their charge should be to provide school employees with the support they need to help enforce the code and to make sure children benefit from it.
A well-designed plan should be proactive rather than reactive, have clear and functional rules, set high expectations for children, involve parents and all staff in the development and implementation, and require data collection and frequent program evaluation. Several AFT affiliates have formed oversight committees to monitor the proper implementation of their districts' discipline codes.
Effective discipline codes:
- Encourage parent, community and staff support through a range of measures, beginning with their involvement in the creation of the code;
- Use clear, concise language with specific examples of all behaviors that will result in disciplinary action and the specific consequences that will be administered for infractions of the rules;
- Include consequences for even minor misbehaviors and require more severe sanctions for repeated minor offenses;
- Categorize offenses from minor to the most severe, with a series of consequences matching the severity of the offenses; and
- Guarantee prompt removal of dangerous and chronically disruptive students from the educational environment. Provide appropriate alternative placements for these students.