school discipline

Guidelines for Principals for Effective School Discipline

A significant portion of the time is spent in addressing student behaviour and school discipline by the administrators. To eliminate the discipline related problems, there is no fast track. However, for more effective and efficient school policies, there are few steps that you can follow.

The most important factor is to identify yourself as well as to your staff about the school’s vision and mission to run the school successfully. You should work towards creating a more proactive and positive environment, thus transforming your school’s culture and also focus on enforcing specific behavioural rules and consequences. To promote a positive environment in the school and to deter poor choices and bad student behaviour, the administration can do several things. 

 To reduce all discipline-related issues and to establish effective school discipline, given below are the guidelines to assist principals. These following steps help to create the discipline process more efficient and fluid. Principals should also take into account that every student is different, and thus variations are needed in each situation.    

1. Create a Plan for Teachers to Follow

Your teachers should know about your expectations regarding student discipline and classroom management. You should also let your teacher know about which situations to handle in the class and which should be brought to the office. When dealing with student discipline problems, tell them about the acceptable consequences to hand out.

In case if the discipline referral form is required to be filled by the teachers, tell them about the information they are expected to include and your expectations on the way to fill it. It is very important to have a definite plan to handle a major discipline issue. Your school will run smoothly and efficiently if you and your teachers work together to maintain school discipline.

2. Support the Teachers

It is important to establish trust with the teachers and make them feel that they have your back as it will enable better communication, and you can also criticize them in required situations. Certain teachers send every student to the office even for the smallest mistake, thus abusing the discipline process. Such frustrating teachers should also have your back to a little extent so that the students cannot play the teacher against you. 

 Is the teacher is sending too many referrals, then tell them about the plan you expect them to follow and what they are actually following.

3. Be Consistent and Fair

As an administrator, not ruffling feathers isn’t possible. The most important thing is to earn respect by being consistent and fair in discipline decisions.

Similar punishments should be given for similar offences. But if one student usually creates discipline issues and the other one has done it for the first time, then you have to accordingly up the consequences.

4. Documentation

The most important thing is to document the issues during the entire discipline process. The student’s name, referring to the teacher’s name, the reason for referral, time of the day, location and actions are taken should be included in the documentation. Such kind of Documenting helps to protect you and the involved teacher if the case ever renders legal action.  

With the help of such documentation, you can keep an eye on the students being referred the most, by which teachers and the reasons behind referring and the time of the day during which such referrals occur. It becomes easier to correct the problems and make changes and adjustments when all this information is known.

5. Be Calm, But Be Stern

Sometimes students provoke the teachers, and they make a rash decision by sending them to the office for you to deal with the situation, but you being an administrator are generally in a calm state of mind and can handle the situation easily. This becomes necessary sometimes as teachers cannot handle a few particular students.

In such a situation, give a few minutes to the student to calm down when they come to the office and try to sense their anger. Dealing with students becomes easy when they are calm. Also, it is important for them to know that it is your duty to discipline them, and you are in charge. Being stern is important for the administrator but don’t be too hard-nosed. 

6. Know Your District Policies and Pertinent State Laws

Make sure you never act outside the guidelines and always follow your school district’s policies and procedures; otherwise, you could lose your job and face legal action. In case of issues like suspension or search and seizure, check pertinent state laws. Talk to another administrator or district attorney in the situation when you are not quite sure. Always be safe than sorry.