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Student Behavior

classroom violence
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Kerby Andersonnever miss viewpoints

Now that summer break has arrived, it’s worth taking a moment to evaluate student behavior in the public schools. An article in City Journal reports that “students nationwide have been filmed swearing at teachers, flipping over desks, and committing physical violence.” Bad behavior has been the rule for many years but has gotten even worse since the pandemic.

A 2022 EdWeek article reported that 44 percent of school-district leaders said they received more threats of violence from students now than in fall 2019, and that “two out of three teachers, principals, and district leaders” noted more misbehavior from students compared with 2019.

The pendulum swings back and forth. In the 1980s, school districts implemented “zero tolerance” discipline policies. This meant mandatory suspension and expulsions for behavior issues, especially if they involved threats of violence. Ten years ago, the federal government told school districts to remediate these policies because they were racially discriminatory. They were replaced with “restorative-justice” policies that minimize “exclusions” from school.

The obvious solution is to deal with any behavior in the classroom before it gets out of hand. But there are other obvious solutions like going back to grading policies based on merit instead of letting students retake tests.

Tracking is another issue. Students bored with a slow pace of learning are more likely to act out. Students who can’t keep up with a faster rate get confused and frustrated.

Another obvious solution is to ban cell phones from the classroom. They distract teenagers and are just one more class disruption. Many of the videos I have seen result from a teacher trying to take away a cell phone from a student.

Student behavior is getting worse. It is time for administrators, principals, teachers, and parents to act before school starts again.viewpoints new web version

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