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The Effectiveness Of School Discipline

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School Disciplinary policies are not used fairly or consistently. Studies have shown that children of minority/ African American descent typically receive harsher/more punishment than those of any other descent. The rate is astronomical, at three times more often than whites. Most teachers in upper class communities or rural areas are predominantly caucasian in nature. There is not a lot of diversity in those communities. Schools could use more teachers and diversity regardless of where the school is located. It would provide the ability for kids to connect/relate better with their instructors. Having diversity also allows instructors to understand students on a more personal level because typically teachers of different backgrounds and race have gone through a similar struggle themselves and can understand why some students are “rougher around the edges” than others. They offer the ability to be a role model more so than a “white” teacher to a child of another race. In general, students of minority are given frequent and harsher disciplines; Students are treated different based on wealth or poverty; and the administration is not as diverse as it could be.

Schools often put race into things and give more consequences to students of another race. So while I agree school discipline can get things in order, students do not typically get treated fairly. Most students generally are not trusted or treated equally. Depending on the situation, if it involves a teacher, the student is usually always to blame. Most often times if you are of minority you will end up suspended for even the least minor issues. These students will miss out on assignments and even get behind in school. This puts them at a disadvantage. Once they are back at school, some teachers allow the student to make up assignments. However, teachers have shown a pattern of not explaining the assignments thoroughly or taking the time to teach the student so that they understand the new material that is being taught. So therefore, this leaves the student struggling to get back on track and possibly feeling overwhelmed.

Many minority students are inappropriately disciplined in ways that disengage them from school and push them toward trouble lives. Black students are only about 18% of a school’s population but a recent report found that they experience 35% of suspensions and 39% of expulsions. These students become “labeled” as troubled kids and a lot of teachers don't assist in taking the extra time to help. Often times, the teachers will actually give more attention to the “ideal” student while overlooking or even dismissing the “disobedient” student. Even with the motto “no child left behind”, these children often are. If minority students are, for example, unfairly suspended or expelled from school, they will likely perform worse at schoolwork-which, in turn, puts many on the path of dropping out, delinquency, run-ins with the police, and even imprisonment. It seems as though students of minority or of less fortune get more punishment than white or wealthier kids.

Wealthier children do not get the same punishments as the less fortunate children do. Most less fortunate kids already have a stigma because of where they live or where they come from. According to a website, “In the United States, black and poor students are suspended at much higher rates than their white and non-poor peers.” Which means that the “poor” students are not being treated fair like the richer students. That is unfair to the lower students because they are not being treated equally. Making them feel like they are not up to the same level as others. It is not limited to just race but it is even different by gender, sexual preference or simply being different such as special needs. On another website, there were two girls who had tripped a special needs student. These two girls were white. When the school had found out, the girls had only received two days of In School Suspension (ISS) and kicked out of the Best Buddies Club. It was said that the girl who had gotten tripped had a broken nose but it is not confirmed. The mother of the special needs student at first did not want to press charges but in the end, she ended up doing so. The girls had only received two days of ISS because of their wealthy parents. With wealthy parents, money often seems to be the key to being able to buy your way out of things. That is not fair to the other students who have to be either suspended or expelled. Why should wealthier students get better treatments than their peers? The “poorer” students have to deal with the consequences that are not only two days of ISS but it also has life long effects. The girls who tripped the special needs student knew exactly what they were doing when they did it. They need to be held accountable for their actions and not get just two days and kicked out of a club. They should have been suspended if that was the consequence in a whole. Maybe apologizing to the child in front of the school would have been more appropriate since they embarrassed her in front of the student body.

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Students in many schools are not being treated fairly by the teaching administration. Sometimes, when a student sees that they are not being treated fairly they can start to act out more. Race most times play into it. African American students are not treated fairly, the majority of time. A “black” boy in baggy pants was disciplined while a “white” girl in a short skirt, also against dress code, is left alone. In that same article it mentioned a girl getting suspended for fighting but the principal didn't realize she’s been repeatedly harrassed for being “queer”. Two separate incidents but in the first event the “black” boy received punishment while they looked the other way when it came to the “white” girl. The second issue was the girl got in trouble for fighting but the staff failed to fix the bullying part which is what sparked the girl to fight to begin with. The children who were bullying probably didn't even receive any form of punishment. I’ve even had my own personal experiences where I have done something minor and not disruptive to anybody but the teacher came over to me and got onto me. Another student who was not of the same race got away with doing the same thing multiple times. In a different class, students sleep and if a classmate asks for help or for clarification, we immediately get in trouble while the students who are sleeping get no repercussions. The Civil Rights Data Collection from 2013-2014, which included data for 99% of public schools and districts in the country. Among the findings is that black and latino children are disproportionately issued school suspensions as early as pre-kindergarten. Black preschoolers are 3.5 times more likely than their white peers to be suspended-despite an overall decline in overall suspension nationwide.

I was doing my work and I wasn't being disrespectful about it when I asked for help on a question. This makes me feel like I am not enough or valued like the other students who do something that is distracting but not corrected. Back at the Freshman Academy, one of my friends was wearing a bandana and a school administrator came over to him and told him to take it off because it seemed “gang related”. But when we turned around there was a girl wearing the same exact bandana on her head. The administrator even went over to her and had a conversation. Not once did she tell her to take it off or put it away. She just talked to her and then said to go to class. How is it that a caucasion student can wear a bandana but an African American student can't because it's “gang related”. If a bandana is “gang related” it should not matter whether it is female or male, black or white, rich or poor. If it is “gang related” for one it should be “gang related” for all.

School disciplines can be positive and effective if it was used less and more efficiently/fairly. It can help provide structure and standards for what is acceptable behavior for certain situations. However, it must be used fairly and consistently across the board to work. Most students follow school rules because they know that there are consequences to their actions and behaviors. If the staff tried to understand the root of the issue or offered additional redirection, there would not be as much disruption in the classroom.

In conclusion as facts and personal experiences have shown, school discipline can be effective. However, for discipline to be effective it needs to be consistent and fairly implemented regardless of a person’s race, sex, sexual orientation, or social status. There are several ways that can help improve the climate and safety in the schools as well as reduce discipline unfairness. If teachers will get to know their students as a person and learn how they interact or take the time to notice ques, can make a difference. Doing controlled studies or video recordings with coaches to help point out errors and build foundations on how to handle the situation differently would be an option. Teachers establishing respect by giving respect is a tremendous step. Not walking into a classroom with the mindset of “white” is smart and “black” as criminal or a nuisance. Learning to take a step back and not make quick judgments or bias opinions. Problem solving is a great key factor. Trying to figure out if the student is acting out because they are not understanding the material so therefore they are drawing attention or shutting down. They do not want to be looked at as stupid so they divert focus. Trying to find out the students background, is there trauma, is something happening at home, do they feel safe? All of this can play into how one acts as a student who is needing emotional support and unsure how to express themselves. Taking more time to learn each student and their backgrounds instead of “I am here to do a job”, is key in success for changing the unfair disciplines that surround our students in schools. Thorough investigation including discipline/correction of the teachers behaviors also can help.

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The Effectiveness Of School Discipline. (2021, September 07). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 22, 2024, from
“The Effectiveness Of School Discipline.” Edubirdie, 07 Sept. 2021,
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