Friday, August 5, 2011

Effective School Discipline Practices – Some Parameters for Good Practice

The National Juvenile Justice Network has just released a policy platform on Safe and Effective School Disciplinary Policies and Practices. 

Sparked by concerns about school safety, in the 1990’s and into the last decade, schools implemented a variety of “get tough” policies and practices that led to a steady rise in the number of school suspensions and expulsions of youth – too often reinforcing or putting them on a downhill track toward further delinquency and ultimately jail or prison.  Some of these policies created a “zero tolerance” approach that scooped in youth who could benefit by more creative, informed, and productive efforts to successfully reengage them in school. 

This policy platform recognizes the need for safety in our schools but more strongly urges that districts avoid a “one size fits all” approach – instead working to prevent school-based problems and then, when the do occur, intervene effectively so that troubled youth have the opportunity to become successful.  Wisconsin schools, large and small, can struggle with how best to approach the needed balance, and this platform provides some guidance on what advocates should expect in terms of discipline policy and practice.                          

Jim Moeser

No comments: