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Discipline and Behavior
School Discipline is a necessary reality for schools and districts however policies and procedures regarding student discipline and behavior require a close look in considering how to best support students in success through school and beyond.
Zero tolerance school policies typically refer to disciplinary policies which include predetermined consequences such as expulsions, suspensions, and referrals to law enforcement for specific offenses such as possession of firearms or other weapons, drug violations, or violent behaviors. These policies have been eliminated in Colorado to make way for more effective, supportive student discipline approaches.
Discipline policy review and data analysis should be part of school and district comprehensive dropout prevention strategies. The data may reveal trends and point to needed inventions, it may also reveal unintended bias when disaggregated by student characteristics.
Using student data to target early interventions, building relationships to understand what students are dealing with in and outside of school, having a diverse team of adults for students to connect with in a positive way, and exploring disciplinary action and supports that keep students engaged in their coursework, are just a few of the considerations necessary in developing and implementing supportive school discipline practices.
Why School Discipline is Important?
Evidence-based, supportive student discipline approaches and strategies, that can be used in place of zero tolerance policies to address student behavior and discipline often overlap between strategies. Very rarely is just one approach or strategy used alone to improve student behavior. Some of these strategies include:
- School Wide Prevention and Universal Interventions such as: Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS); Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS); Response to Intervention (RTI) and Restorative Justice Approaches.
- Individual Student-Focused Alternatives such as: Mental Health Services and Counseling; Self-Management Plans, Behavioral Contracts, and Behavioral Monitoring Strategies; In-School Alternatives; Alternative Programs and Schools; Community Service/Restituti
Students experiencing behavior challenges required a number of supports however many of them can be implemented school wide to support all students including but not limited to:
- Positive Reinforcement
- Adult Mentors and Positive Teacher-Student Relationships
- School and Community Collaborations
- Parent/Family Involvement
- Social-Emotional Learning and Character Education
- Build Positive School Climate and School Bonding
- Early Interventions
- Professional Development Opportunities
References and Materials
Discipline and Behavior-Best Practice Series