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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

January 26, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Reader callout: Parents, teachers share ideas for fixing discipline

As part of The Seattle Times’ ongoing series on school discipline, Education Lab recently asked readers to share their experiences with student discipline. A selection of these responses are below. Go the the original post in Education Lab for more responses.

Want to add your own two cents? Go here to share your thoughts. The blog may publish another round of responses at a later date.

How have you seen discipline handled well?

Discipline has worked when I’ve seen adults willing to be a mediator for helping students listen to each other. Establishing agreements (not rules) beforehand and continuing to revisit them is also helpful. When children know they can trust, they will be heard, they are more willing to listen and learn and be guided.

–Marcia Christen, Poulsbo

I see more schools using positive behavioral supports. We have to teach kids how to behave and the right social skills to get their needs met. Suspending them only makes it worse.

–Lori Lynass (teacher), Shoreline

At a day care in Stanwood, I once saw an instructor tell another child, ‘I’m not going to let you hurt my friend.’ That child was hitting the other kid (her ‘friend’). The instructor was comfortable being in charge, and she was setting a tone for that environment. The overarching message was: ‘No hitting, because I will stop you this time, and I will stop you every time.’

The message from that instructor was huge. If there is a benevolent but stern leadership on site, willing to step in and stop bad behavior, that speaks volumes, and sets the tone for that environment.

–Jana Hill (parent), Camano Island

How can teachers or administrators minimize disruptions while reducing suspensions?

Start by building close and respectful relationships with each student and parent. When students know teachers care about them and won’t let them be less than their best, they rise to the occasion.

–John Benner (parent), Seattle

Alternative programs must be available for those who refuse to cooperate. Constant disruptive behaviors, violence, intimidation and bullying rob other students of their opportunity for education.

–Jennifer Gawlik (teacher), Yakima

Instead of suspension, make disciplined students do community service. Something like picking up trash in the public parks or helping out at a homeless shelter with adult supervision.

–Scottie Hung, Bellevue

Comments | More in Education | Topics: education, Education Lab, school discipline


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