When do you call the police at schools?  Whose job is it to discipline students?  Is the zero tolerance policy working?  What do you think?

On Sunday, January 1, 2012, the New Haven Register had an opinion piece stating titled Schools Rely Too Much On Police To Discipline Students.

Here are some of the things students at Connecticut schools have been arrested for in the last year: having cigarettes, refusing to take off a hat, talking back to a teacher and wearing pants too low.

Calling in the police to handle minor discipline problems such as these is an indication of school policies of “zero tolerance” run amok or school administrators who have abandoned their duties and handed them to police.

Concerned about the number of arrests, the state Department of Education has begun collecting data on the occurrences. Also, the state Court Support Services Division has been screening police summonses and sending back those that are inappropriate for prosecution, such as refusing to take off a hat, according to William Carbone, the division’s director.”

What do you think?

When I read the list of offenses they do seem minor.  What happened?  How did they escalate?  I wonder why a child or young adult thinks it ok to talk back to a teacher? Where was this behavior  learned, accepted, or ignored by others?  I wonder if the teacher could have handled it differently?  Did the teacher know how to contain or deescalate the situation?  What was the trigger?  I  wonder.   I wonder how heated the exchange became.  Why did it get this far?  (Remember what happens with road rage?)

From my many conversations with Dr. Bernie Siegel on my show Classroom Connections, these children need re-parenting, love and acceptance.  Bernie Siegel is the CD or Chosen Dad from many people.  Perhaps school systems can create a safe-place for a child to go to be accepted, no matter what they do.  A child needs to know they have valve, are loved and accepted from an early age- no matter what.  What do you think?


As former Responsive Classroom trainer,  I’ve learned that positive discipline starts with a simple “good morning.”  Everyone needs to be noticed.  We pay attention to our kids, or they will find a way to get that  attention.  What do you do after you say hello?  Have a conversation, ask a few questions, show an interest.  Say you are happy to see them.  See what happens.  The children will respond.  They are noticed. They have connected to an adult.  This is not the answer, but it is a beginning.  We need to help our parents, parent.