School Discipline vs Students
Finding a balance between equality for students and school discipline is a challenge for teachers and school administrators. When should schools use in-house discipline for students and when should law enforcement be asked to intervene? The Obama administration put forth initiatives to focus on keeping law enforcement out of routine school discipline in hopes of reducing student arrests and racially-motivated discipline. The question is, how do teachers and administrators protect students when it comes to school discipline?
Changes to School Discipline Guidelines
In 2014, the Obama administration released a directive that addressed issues within school discipline procedures. The guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice and Education focused on reducing the use of law enforcement to manage disciplinary problems in schools. The idea was to limit arrests of students for behavioral issues, keeping discipline measures within the schools. It was meant to address the disproportionate number of students of color arrested or disciplined in schools.
The new guidelines were designed to address racially-motivated school discipline, but some critics are concerned that it may be affecting the safety of students. If behavior issues are not addressed with proper discipline due to fear of uneven numbers between students of different races, it could cause disruption in classes and safety problems. Maintaining equitable treatment and a safe environment for students are both important, but school administrators can be afraid of repercussions if school discipline is used on too many students of color.
Protecting Students Through School Discipline
The goal of all guidelines for school discipline should be to protect the students. Discipline is needed by teachers to control classrooms, so students can learn and receive the education they need to succeed. School discipline is also needed to protect students, removing threats from bullies and violence. Teachers must find the right balance of discipline to keep their classes productive and safe, not an easy role.
Under the current guidelines, teachers can be caught in the cross-hairs of protecting their students and using the appropriate discipline. If too much discipline is used, they could be accused of unfair or inequitable practices by their administration or parents in the district. If they do not use enough discipline, their students suffer from disruptive classes and possibly an unsafe environment. Changes may be needed to allow teachers to do their job while protecting their students.
At Tison Law Group, we want what is best for the young people in our schools. Whether you are a teacher that is facing unfair treatment by your school administration or a parent concerned about the safety of your child, we offer legal representation. We understand the current education guidelines and how they can impact both the students and teachers. Contact our office to schedule a consultation to discuss your concerns.