Prevention of Misconduct and Legal Issues Arising in These Cases
It is important to recognize who the students are and being able to predict the way in which students may act up on school grounds. If all the possible misconduct issues are thought of beforehand, then educators should be able to come up with preventive measures to prevent unwanted behaviors. In our book (McCarthy et al, 2014, p. 201-202) it mentions that the United States Supreme Court have been known to strike down disciplinary policies as unconstitutional as being vague and not pointing to the specific nature of the unwanted conduct. Educators need to be specific in their policies as to what exactly is unwanted conduct and the proper disciplinary measures to prevent these from happening.
I found this Mental Health America website online and I found it to be an interesting read regarding student discipline and positive behavioral support (MHA website, Position Statement 45). It is important to recognize the unwanted behavioral issues that students may carry out, but it is also important to provide students the resources to promote positive behavior. MHA is against zero tolerance policies in that these are predetermined consequences to prohibited behaviors, that don’t investigate the issue much before just handing over the consequences. MHA aims to investigate each matter on a case by case situation while applying positive reinforcements to stop the student from doing the unwanted behavior again.
The intention of zero-tolerance policies is great in being strict in not allowing or not accepting inappropriate behavior, but they are quick to hand out punishments before investigating the matter. An example of zero-tolerance policies needing to be changed is seen in our book. In Virginia, there was a student who retrieved a knife from his friend because he was trying to save his life. The student cooperated with the assistant school principal in giving him the knife but was expelled from school for four months (McCarthy et al, 2014, p. 208). Now that is sad because this student was trying to save a life and yet he got punished for it? Even the assistant principal believed that the student was acting in his friend’s best interest and was not seen as a threat to anyone. That just does not make any sense whatsoever. What do you think of this situation? How should it have been reported and handled? I think the student should have reported the knife and incident to a teacher and other school officials so that they could have handled it, and this way he wouldn’t have been expelled.