As an administrative intern, students were referred to me for misbehaviors of all kinds. I struggled at first with how to deal with them all in a way that was consistent, fair, and that addressed the need being expressed in the misbehavior instead of just the fault. I wanted to establish a consistent process that would result in discipline (as opposed to punishment), so that hopefully the students were changed in some positive way by the process and less likely to engage in misbehavior, at least of that kind, in the future.
I did some research online about discipline, and found the site Kids Are Worth It (click here) by Barbara Coloroso was most helpful.
As she points out, discipline has four steps that the act of punishment does not:
1. It shows the student what s/he has done wrong
2. It gives the student ownership of the problem
3. It gives the student a process for solving the problem he created
4. It leaves the student’s dignity intact
The process mentioned above should also incorporate the following, according to Ms. Coloroso:
Restitution – fix anything that needs fixing
Resolution – create oneself anew so incident not likely to happen again
Reconciliation – heal with any people harmed by the incident
I therefore developed a form (see link below) for processing student discipline referrals that incorporated this information and have attached it here. We rarely take the time to consider all three R’s when processing many referrals, but I find that taking the time means fewer referrals down the road and much happier students and teachers.
Depending upon the age of the student, you can use the form as a reflective tool for students to fill out before you even meet with them, which helps save time and gives them a chance to think about what they might do about the misbehavior—their suggestions are sometimes much more creative and appropriate than ours.