Sunday, March 15, 2015
The New Discipline Policy Is A Disaster Waiting To Happen.
Under pressure from the Obama Administration and approved by Mayor Bill de Blasio, there is a new, more lenient discipline policy for disruptive students in the New York City Public Schools. No longer can principals suspend misbehaving students without DOE Central approving the suspension. Instead, the new policy is to set up "Restorative Justice" meetings to encourage the wayward student to mend their ways. No longer can a teacher remove a disrespectful student from the classroom but must endure the student harassment and classroom disruptions.
In some schools, the administration has gone so far as to set up peer courts and restorative justice circles instead of discipline, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Worse, the misbehaving students quickly realize there is little consequence for their bad behavior and feel free to continue or even escalate their misdeeds at the expense of his or her classmates and teachers. The result is an out of control school.
In school after school I have heard horror stories about students threatening or cursing at their teachers with no punishment. Sadly, these administrators simply tell the teachers that the student has a difficult family life or their IEP allows for such behavior and they must be compassionate and forgiving. The result is the student continues to disrupt the classroom and the powerlessness of the teacher to enforce discipline results in a chaotic classroom. Is it any wonder that many of these schools cannot retain their teaching staff?
Added to the lax discipline code, is the continued micromanaging of the classroom teacher who no longer has complete control of their classroom. In too many schools, students arrive late to class since the administration requires the teacher to let them in , take their cell phones out when they please with little fear of the phones being taken away, and add that to the well founded fear that any altercation with a student can result in the teacher being subject to discipline and even termination discourages the teacher from enforcing classroom discipline.!
In addition, the teacher is subject to frequent observations from administrators, thanks to the punitive teacher evaluation system and the data mining requirements imposed by the DOE results in unnecessary and excessive paperwork and adds to the stress in the classroom.
The lax discipline policy combined with the hostile classroom environment makes an already stressful occupation even more so. Already there are fewer perspective teachers entering the teaching field and with teacher control being continually eroded, it will only get worse.Its a disaster waiting to happen.