Student Discipline

Watch this video about school law, specifically student discipline, and participate in a discussion about policy and law.


Filed under Higher Education

27 responses to “Student Discipline

  1. Sarah

    I agree with this video that expulsions and suspensions have been taken to the extreme and are being passed out to students for the smallest reasons. Our goal as educators should be to keep students in class as much as possible not look for reasons to send them home making it even harder for them to succeed.

    • I agree that having them spend time outside of school doesn’t help anyone. Teens who don’t want to be in school don’t view it as a punishment but as a vacation. Also teens who actually want to be in school and get good grades who get suspended have their task made harder. Their grades drop while they are out of school and then they must play catch-up. Often students will begin to view it as a lost cause.

  2. Holly Cobon

    I like the idea that school’s could partake in a trial and hearing for students who have been disciplined and/or suspended. By enforcing a due process policy for students, students who are innocent will be heard and not have to miss out on their education. For those who are found guilty an alternative school should be an option so that they are not disrupting others in public schools. For every student that is suspended, there should be an option given, whether it’s homeschooling in a public building, or attending an alternative school. No student should miss out on their opportunity for an education due to making a mistake or simply by being falsely accused.

    The one downfall to all of this is that a due process program would cost school’s and more money, and more time. Also, what happens to those students while they are awaiting their trial? Do they still get to attend their school unitil a decision is made?

    • Joy Davidson

      I like the ideas of a trial type hearing as well. I think the dependence of the violation deems whether or not a student would stay home or be able to return to school during the transition time before trial. However, I agree with your concern over the financial ramifications of such a process. Who would be the judges, defense lawyers, prosecutors? Real ones from the genreal public or specific ones assigned to the school board?
      I also agree with your comment about there being alternative educational plans set in place. No matter the offense, students should always have the right to be educated in some fashion.

  3. Anna Santoro

    I believe that it is not helping the school or the students if they are being expelled as a disciplinary action. I do not see keeping students away from their studies and schoolwork beneficial or an acceptable punishment. I think a detention system should be more in effect than it already is. I like the idea of a due process program where the students have the ability to take their case to trial with the help of their parents, but I do not see that happening in the future due to funding. I agree that there are too many rash suspensions over things that did not endanger students and the story about the picture seemed to be presumptious. Regardless of the issue, that does not pertain to violence or endangering other students, suspension is taking away a child’s right to an education and that is too far.

    • Joy Davidson

      I am curious to how a detention system would work in your opinion. Would it be time before / after school hours? During lunch periods? Who would supervise the students in detention? Do these supervisors get paid extra? What activities would the students accomplish while in detention? I apologize if it feels as though I bombarded you with questions, curiosity took ahold of me.

  4. Kirstin Coultas

    I agree with the message behind this video. I have never really understood how when a student does something wrong they are suspended or expelled. A lot of times it becomes a little vacation and when they return their grades have gone down and instead of wanting to go to school and get good grades they end up not caring and slack the rest of the semester/year. It makes it much easier for a student to drop out when their grades slip because they were suspended or expelled. Also, I like what the girl in the beginning had to say about a fair trial. Maybe not exactly a trial but a case by case for example the expulsion of the girl with the “gang related photo” was ridiculous. The girl was not even in the photo she just happened to have it, it seems a little extreme. It is hard for a student to learn when they are taken out of the classroom. There are certain situations when suspension or expulsion is necessary but they usually relate to violence or endangering other students, otherwise there are other actions that would be a better form of discipline in many of these situations.

    • Noelle Laffoon

      I also agree with you and this video. The ways schools are using their power seems to really turn off students and make them feel that they have no one they can trust or count on in the school. It is no wonder that students’ grades are slipping and the drop out rate is rising. I think it is time for schools to sit down and really hash out what disciplinary actions are needed for what situations and have the students’ views on it as well. Get student voices more involved, because it is after all their education that is at stake.

  5. Joy Davidson

    With all the talk about the rules and regulations regarding due process, as discussed in this week’s chapter 8 assignment, it seems almost humorous that these student’s were suspended or expelled for the causes seen in this video. Not one of these students commited the top three reasons, commiting violence, attempting or causing physical harm to others, or destroying or stealing school property.
    The case where the student was in a photograph with her boyfriend showing a gang sign could be misconstrued for evidence in illegal behavior by state or federal law; however, she was not actually showing the gang sign, nor did she have any diciplinary actions taken against her before. To me, it seems more of the rule “birds of feathers stick together.” Guilt by association is even hard to prove in criminal courts. Her punishment of explusion seemed to be rather harsh, maybe a suspension was warranted, but certainly not expulsion.
    The case of almost suspension and personal infractions from being a gay student infuriates me. His personal violation occured when he was outed to his family without his consent. That is an infringement on privacy, in my opinion.
    I agree that suspensions and expulsions need to have just cause, and these cases in this video proves that there is inconsistency in the process. The question then becomes what needs to be done to prevent more of these injustices? I think we should use the idea of assigning appropriate replacement assignments in the cases of suspensions, so that a student’s grade is not decimated with no way of repair. Teacher’s assign replacement work for students who have a valid resaon for not participating in the current line of cirriculium. The students of suspension could even have access to the same assignments, but perhaps with the lack of direction provided from a teacher, the suspended student may find motivation for returning to school. Meanwhile, the student could research other ways to learn the material and still complete assignments on time and completely. If a test is scheduled, there are way in which a student may take a proctered exam in a controlled and safe environment, with minimal extra work for the teacher. A test can be faxed, emailed, even “snail-mailed” to the testing site. Perhaps these types of suspensions procedures would help retain the student’s grades, motivation for comping back, and /or illustrate that potential success even during harder times.
    I also believe that consistency needs to be accomplished in determining what justifies expulsion. Because of the severity, and long lasting effects, of expulsion, I feel that it should only be used in extreme first offense matters, like that of severe bodily harm, property damage, or theft. I also feel it could be used in cases where there are perpetual offenders of suspensions. Perhaps a third-strike-you-are-out type mandate that courts use for such things as DUI’s. It would have to be three strikes for a similiar offense in order for that to make sense.
    I would be interested to read any other ideas for concrete changes.

  6. Noelle Laffoon

    This video definitely makes you think about schools’ regulations on student discipline. All the kids (who were chosen at least) were suspended or disciplined for reasons that were almost comical. It seemed as though the schools were just pushing thier power and were not giving the student a chance. Schools seem to be so afraid that something frightful will happen that the first time a student does something remotely “bad” they are automatically punished severely. This imprerssion given off by the schools gives the students feelings of hate and untrust towards the people working there. I understand that rules and regulations are put into effect for certain reasons but at times it seems that rules and regulations are pushed past their reasons and are used against the smallest of offenses by students.
    I also agree that expulsions and suspensions have become a little out of hand in many schools. Students are losing so much time in the classroom. It brings up the question, is expolsion and suspension the best for students? On some cases it most certainly is, such as acts of severe violence and destroying of school property, but in other small cases like Deanna who was suspended for a picture that might have had the intention of gang signs, she lost 30 days in her classroom and her grades dropped drastically. There must be other ways for schools to discipline that doesn’t involve the extreme loss of educatoinal time.

  7. Baylee

    I had not previously thought a lot about suspension and school discipline up until reading this chapter and watching this video, however; it has really opened my eyes. I had always thought that students who were suspended or expelled were considered “bad” and that they deserved the punishment that they got. After seeing this video, though, I no longer think that is the case. The students depicted in this video are not “bad” and I do not agree with why they disciplinary actions used against them in the first place. The idea of schools and having children at schools is so they can learn. If schools are constantly finding ways to suspend and expel students then how are they learning? In my opinion, I think that school guidelines for suspension and expulsion in California, and other states, should be reviewed and possibly changed, because for students to be missing that much school simply because the school deems it appropriate is unacceptable, and schools and teachers are no longer doing their jobs by constantly finding ways to use disciplinary actions against their students.

  8. Lilly

    I agree with most of the previous post. All of the students that we shown in this video had legitimate reasons for there expulsion and or suspension to be overturned. If there was some sort of review procedural in place. Or at minimum if they reviewed in case-by-case basis (as is done with many other situations.) It could have prevented the unnecessary school absences at the very least. My heart went out to the student who lost his valedictorian status that prestigious recognition. Yet we wonder why the drop out rates are out of control in schools? If you expect the students to follow the law and your rules the school should as well. The examples that Joy gave above were great.

  9. Cynthia Donato

    I agree with the message behind this video, I think it is ridiculous that individuals can loose everything they worked for in school for one suspension. While watching the video, I was amazed by how many students got suspended or expelled for something that was so minor. I don’t ever remember it being that bad while I was in school, and I went to school in California. It makes it seem amazing that I made it through high school without being expelled or suspended. I think that the guidelines need to be more clear when it comes to school suspension and expelling students. It is hard to think that we send our kids to schools that have the high suspension and expelling rates. It is amazing to look and think of the higher levels of drop outs, and lower test scores, and then look at the higher suspension and expelling rates. To me it seems like it makes the connection that it could be the reason for both. They go hand in hand and could be a large factor of why certain are occurring in public school. The people in the video didn’t seem like they had done anything to serious or not serious at all and their schooling was crushed. I honestly think that, that is why past records and behaviors need to be considered because if it is a first offense then there should be something else done before ultimately suspending or expelling students.

  10. Chris

    I think That the schools are going overboard with the suspensions. I feel that things have become so complated for shools in terms of dealing with student discipline that it has become easier to just suspend a student. I think the schools just feel that removing students that are not following the rules will send a message and will allow for the school day to go as they planned. I think school rules should be set at the start of the school year, and should not be allowed to be interpeted by the school to fullfill thier objective.

  11. Karleen Otten

    I agree with the video. Suspension and expulsions are becoming a bit too common in the school system. At the school where I teach, I receive numerous emails about how a student is being suspended for 3 to 6 days because of threatening a student or “being mean.” To me that says that the teachers are not being trained to handle these situations and they just send these students to the administration because they don’t know what else to do with them. We, as teachers, need to teach the students life lessons as well as academics. If a student is threatening someone or “being mean”, we should allow the students to try to work it out without such harsh consequences. Is a suspension really necessary? What about a detention instead? That way they are still in school and not missing any lessons or homework for that matter.

    Suspensions are not motivation to go to school and do well. It is quite the opposite. When these students miss long periods of school, they miss vital information in their classes and struggle in the long run because they don’t have the opportunity to ask questions or get help from the teacher if needed while suspended. I’m still flabbergasted by the last allegation about the photograph. That was not her in the picture. She had no history of discipline before. Isn’t one of the factors for discipline based on the history of the student and his/her records?

    It seems like the school sets their disciplinary actions to the extreme, and the students suffer for it. Yes, I’m aware that the school does not want to be liable for anything, so they make those standards to cover their tracks, but at what cost? There are more students being suspended and expelled than graduating. That says something. There needs to be a change in the disciplinary system, and it needs to happen quickly.

  12. David Pike

    It seems that the issue of “Zero Tolerance” has gotten way out of control. Expelling and suspending kids for small infractions and making them miss school just because this law is so strict does not achieve the goal I think it was intended to. Keeping students inside the classroom should be the biggest goal. Even if that means setting aside a room for students that are in trouble and making their punishment to do more homework and more overall work in general. They need to evaluate these situations according to how serious they are instead of treating them mostly the same. Many of the students in this video shouldn’t have even had to go to a trial. Many of those situations should and could have been dealt with as they occurred. The situation where the kid brought the principal the knife that the friend was trying to kill herself with should have been praised for saving her friends life not thrown out of school and forced to go to trial. That principal could have realized that a student probably wouldn’t just hand over a knife like that for no reason. She thought that was the right thing to do and it was. “Zero Tolerance” is simply not solving the problem it is creating more.

  13. Alicia Seefeldt

    I have watched the article and read the majority of the responses. I understand that it appears the system is being overused by the schools and districts, I even agree for the most part. However, we did not receive very much information in regards to the majority of the situations presented. The schools are using the easiest method of dealing with the issues and most students are using the suspensions/expulsions as vacations. The idea of a court/hearing procedure for students who are accused of misbehavior is a great idea, however, it is not cost effective. The removal of students from the educational system is not benefitting the students or society. Therefore, I believe that students who have been accused of wrong doing should be removed from the standard classes, etc., and placed in an alternative educational setting so they do not miss any educational opportunities while the due process system is played out for determination of the “crime” and if further punishment is required.

  14. After reading the chapter and watching this video about the students’ side I considered that sometimes schools policies are very rough and not just for everyone. I’m agree with the first girl in the video about that in real life, a person has right of a fear hearing, chance to apologized and get legal representation and schools boards do not have any of these, as other people in class I also think that the number of suspensions are very excessive and schools should help students to succeed instead of giving them three of more days of vacations. I think instead of get suspended and be relax at home if they really want to punished them they should make them to go to school more hours after school or to after school programs if they do not represent a risk for another students. I like this video because show us really good data about expelled and suspension and interesting real stories about schools that are not giving incentive student to succeed.

  15. Michele Haugen

    I believe that a student should be forced to stay in school and participate in academics instead of being expelled or suspended. Expelling or suspending a student is like giving them a free break from school. Most students would rather hang out at home then have to sit in a boring classroom. I do not believe that there should be no consequence, but it should be something that will better them with academics. There should be better ways to handle a situation other then immediately kicking a student out of school. Personnel should be trained to deal with “bad situations” and what types of consequences are acceptable and that still allow a student to partake in academic matters. Expulsion and suspension should be a last resort.

  16. I believe all students should have the right to due process when there is a disciplinary action that could result in suspension or expulsion. I also agree with Dalila’s idea, and I think that schools should not send a student on vacation, but have the student do extra work. I agree that there should be a consequence if a student is found through due process to require disciplinary action, but that consequence should not cause them to lose standing in their classes.

  17. Chance Early

    I do agree with these students, because they did go through some harsh times with their suspensions and expultions just because of things like a photograph. School law is a huge part of the education system and for it to have such consequences for things like these is ridiculous to me. I agree also with Amy Kay on the students being guilty but only through due process will they will recieve consequences.

  18. maddy emery

    After reading this weeks chapter I think some of these students are unfairly punished. For example the student who was going to commit suicide and a friend grabbed the knife and put it in his locker. That student was suspended for saving her life, and telling the principal. These stories are really interesting on what teachers can suspended, arrest and expel students for. Can students not be given in school suspension like lunch detention or something less extreme?

    • Ron Eichstedt

      I would agree with your statement as a case by case trial needs to be applied in the schools. For example, the knife incident you mentioned had the student with great intentions and emotional strength to help his friend only to get expelled because the item was in his locker and the reasoning was not factored into his account. Administrators need to think on a macro level with student success and not so much in the moment mentality, what if this student begins to be depressed because their heroic actions were only rewarded with extreme discipline. Who’s at fault then?

  19. Ron Eichstedt

    Though the students are biased based on their experience I would have to agree with the majority of the students in the video. It would seem as most administrators would rather ignore the issue and suspend or ex spell the students to remove the problem rather than fix it. The idea of having a due process that is similar to criminal court where each person receives a fair hearing with a non-biased panel seems effective. This would ensure or help the student that may have been wrongly viewed for a one time instance. Personally, I can relate to this as when I was in High School in 1998 the Columbine HS incident occurred. At the time I was “Gothic” and wore black clothing with a trench coat. The day after the incident I was called into the office and told that I was a threat to the school because of the music and clothing I supported. The next day I was expelled from the school without a hearing or option to explain my side and reasoning for expressing myself the way I do. By removing students from school you the administrator reinforce any issues that might have caused the incident or create issues within a student because of a wrongful accusation. By making the student stay home and out of school they will adopt a “don’t care” attitude or could be negatively influenced if they live in a household that reinforces it. Possibly by keeping the students on campus during that time but, engaged in a separate environment that stimulates their mind and educates the student as to why that behavior or display is not conducive to the learning environment. This process would cost the state more in funding but in the end would benefit our tests scores, attendance and graduation rates as you are constantly encouraging the student to reach their potential and not discarding them like trash.

  20. Shayla Miller

    I am in agreement with the students and the message behind this video. If we continue to suspend students because of minor infractions that they happen to cause, some accidentally, we are going to start to see negative consequences to our reactions. There is no need for students to be “outed” to their family’s by the school because they chose to change in a bathroom stall. That can create more psychological damage to a student than good. Also, being sent to Juvenile Hall because the student tried to grab a photo album from a teacher is way beyond overreacting. I can see if the student had a knife, or threatened the teacher, but she did not and her life was then altered in a negative way because of this. Her grades slipped and fell and she no longer cared because why should she? Why should she care if teachers and administrators don’t care about her, or their students. That may not be true, but the law is making it seem that way.

  21. Molly Kane

    I agree with this video, students are being punished for the smallest mistakes leaving no fear of punishment when it comes to bigger problems. Suspension, expulsion, and the rpc’s have gotten out of hand, it seems that school want to focus on disciplining students and shaping them up, rather than educating them. Taking a student out of school for three days due to a dress code infraction, does not help the student it only puts them farther behind. I did not realize the growing problem California schools had until now, it is truly something that needs to change. I feel sorry for the students in a way that are always being disciplined rather than taught. If someone writes a student up, suspends, or rpc’s them every time they are in trouble, I don’t think student’s every really learn that there is a significant consequence to getting in trouble at school. If minor actions are receiving the same actions as larger problems then it’s possible that the student’s actions could escalate.

  22. Renee Will

    This is a problem everywhere, not just in California. School discipline is so vague and understated, students are getting expelled or suspended over things that should just merit a warning or detention. In the video, a girl named Deanna was expelled for a photograph of someone else that the vice principal thought was gang related. She had never been in trouble before and was expelled. It is my belief that schools need more structured discipline standards that spell out what constitutes as suspension or expulsion behaviors or actions.

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