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Video: Have Schools Gone Too Far On Discipline & Enforcement?

Watch Harsh Punishment for Misbehavior in Texas Schools on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.

This PBS NewsHour segment from earlier this week focuses on Texas schools but don't be fooled -- the issue of disproportionate and excessive school punishments has come up in Chicago, Los Angeles, and many other parts of the country and is a topic on which educators and reformers sometimes flip sides.  

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Those of us who want attendance and discipline policies enforced need to condemn the crazy criminalization of misbehavior, as we support socio-emotional supports, programs like PBIS, and more high-quality alternative schools. Also, a couple of aspects in the report were just weird. Why weren't the absences of the student with family responsibility ruled as "excused?" A superintendent said that they need law enforcement because schools can't enforce their discipline? Who's stopping him?

I also disagree with the judge who says that student misbehavior has gotten worse. I'd say that cell phones are a new and huge problem, but I see much less violence than in the crack and gangs years.

Just because teachers say that schools need to start enforcing attendance and discipline policies if we want teaching and learning to improve, it doesn't follow that the kids (who aren't the ones who fail to enforce rules) have gotten worse.

Yes, they most definitely have. It is insane how school behave towards out children these days. Seems like more and more people I know are pulling them out and homeschooling them!

t’s a fine line, in my opinion. I think my issue recently has been the expansion of school jurisdiction. I know of a few cases in which bringing an issue outside of school grounds that the “victim” wasn’t aware even happened exacerbated the situation. At my former high school, 40 kids were suspended for posting their grievance about an issue at school involving the removal of an item from the a la carte menu because another student supposedly had a phobia regarding that item. All 40 posted or liked Facebook comments, from the privacy of their own homes and home computers, protesting the removal of that food item. The school found out and suspended the entire group. When they were suspended, they were told they could not talk about it because the phobic student didn't know students were upset and the school didn't want them to know. Months later, the student's mother was caught bringing that food item to her son during lunch, and he admitted that he made up the whole phobia for fun. Not one of the suspended students received an apology.

How come the young man wasn't allowed to use "Stand your ground" laws to defend himself in court? I guess you can only use that if you know about the law and can have legal representation.

The whole thing seems like proven guilty before you even enter the courtroom.

I think that each discipline case should be handled differently. We are still living in trying times. Students have to help their parents make a living, illnesses, take care of sibling, etc. If a student is making good grades, I think the school district should assist with options to assist the families to reduce truancies. All students are not behavior students; some are really trying to become successful. We should look closer at each student problem and try to assist with fixing it.

Mary
mary.taylor-talley@waldenu.edu

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