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Zero Tolerance Policy In Schools – What Does It Take To Correct The System?
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Zero Tolerance Policy In Schools – What Does it Take to Correct the System?

An article written by Rebecca Gardner titled Zero Tolerance Policy in Schools got me to thinking that I should impart a system used by a school that works. I am no expert at what is the answer to the present situation in schools but this system I like.

Let me start by giving you my back ground at school. I was never a perfect scholar, anything but, I was not the best of examples on how you should behave at school, in fact I more likely a model of how not to behave at school. In my time discipline, metered out by either a good caning on the backside or manual labour duties. Teachers entitled to beat the tail-end and even to throw blackboard dusters at you. The dusters taught you magnificent reflexes and the caning how to smile whilst in pain, as it aggravated the hell out of the punisher.

But the school I wish to tell you about practice a different system to all others I know of in today’s world. They have a democratic system, set up by a forward thinking school board, they decided scholars should judge scholars and hand out the punishment for infractions.

How does the system work? the school has a set of moral rules governing scholar behaviour, this written by an elected body of the students. These rules, the punishments and the controls adjudged by the board of directors as being legal and fair, approved this directive. A referendum was held by the students and the guidelines approved by at least a seventy-five percent vote. No changes allowed to the guidelines without this same majority vote of the student body. So what have we now? A constitution for the students and the powers governing them.

Any and all changes to this constitution, need debating and discussion in front of all scholars before a vote taken.

The scholastic body proposed by the outgoing students, must accept the proposal and debate before the students before voted for. Obviously the students can also nominate their own people to stand, but all must debate about why they should receive this election. The new body elected before the last day of the end of the year, and the outgoing students have a vote for the controlling body. This body of students, duly elected, first agenda at the start of school, is to publish a role of judges and their time periods of duties.

The others act as police officers of the school and its students. Any infractions falling within the rules and regulations of the body, referred to the student court, judged before three students and one educator, and a punishment set. This punishment, anything from an essay to manual work in the gardens or in and around the buildings, whatever needs doing. Essays, read in front of all the scholars by the offender and adjudged as good enough or not, and if not a rewrite required. Manual labour, supervised by an educator, ensuring no dangerous practices followed.

This has proven to have been extremely beneficial to the school for the following reasons;

  • students have learnt to debate and take responsibility for their own;
  • all students have learnt the future of debate and election of office bearers;
  • menial activities needing attention around the school performed by students, teaching them skills as well as saving the school monies;
  • essay writing, has improved the students writing skills, even to the discovery of some brilliant authors;
  • discipline within the school has improved;
  • respect of others and teachers improved;
  • obedience to rules and regulations greatly improved;
  • examination results better;
  • and school students educated to the ways of the world.

This has had great success, obviously the school masters and governors still have their job to do, that being the more serious offences. But they've been relieved of the smaller, less serious offences and it has now turned out that these offences have decreased enormously, respect for others and others belongings greatly improved and education has been the winner.


Street Talk

OK, bring out the coffee pot! My concerns are the propensity for public shaming / humiliation and the fact that peers are more likely to be cruel than supportive. I immediately thought of my own child who has been challenged with literacy and what it would mean to him to be forced to write (not to mention present) an essay. And then to be at the mercy of other's to judge if it's good enough? Number one thing people fear more than death? Public speaking. Peer police force? Reeks communism. I don't know. Not getting a good feel for this myself. I much prefer the carrot system where my kids are being constantly rewarded for what they're doing right! Thought provoking anyway. Thanks Rob.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

kids that tow the line would never be punished, and as their is a "lawyer" type support system for the accused, challenged children would not end in this position. I believe the absenteeism and class disruptions are now nearly non existent, and the educators have the time to do what they are paid for and that is educate rather than control unruly kids. Don't get it wrong, there is not a court case every day and the educator on the judging board is there to ensure fair play and no victimisation. This system is more for controlling the smooth running of school rules outside of the classroom. When I was at school these duties were performed by prefects that had a free hand to punish without control, all that was needed was one to dislike you and your back end could be beaten daily. This easily seen as bullying. This system at this school has basically eradicated bullying entirely, one of a parents worst fears. I was bullied as a junior at school and know what its like, I would loved to have had recourse to such a system in my day. My bullies, nearly all found after I left school, were reminded in the "nicest possible manner" of what it was like for me. Such a system does almost eradicate it, with a close monitoring for victimisation after the fact. Some semesters completed without a single court hearing, is this not what a parent wants, the kids to enjoy a school career without disruption and fair treatment? My kids had no such luck and had to attend schools much like mine where all sorts happened, my son also bullied in his first years only told me of it after he left school. why did it take him so long to tell me, he was scared of the repercussions if I had of got involved. This school has a lot of fair play dealt out by students and not teachers that have restricted powers. I wrote this as I could not describe it to Rebecca in answer to her article. I am in no way expounding that the system is fool proof or the correct thing to do but merely as a description in answer to her article. What does and old f..t like me know about schooling today? Very little, it is luckily now my kids problem to educate my grand children. Heather "reeks communism" surely not, is this not almost a democratically run system where the kids elect their own governors?

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Oh all interesting to be sure, Rob. I don't have the answers and knowing nothing about it probably not a good opinion either. I do know that we all want the best for the children (especially our own) and if someone has thought out of the box and it's working than it must be a good thing. I would be the first to agree that current 'traditional' systems have their failings.

  
  about 8 years ago
C4rmen  

Good structure in this program, teaching responsiblity first hand.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Exactly that C4rmen, actually a success, had lots of teething problems in the beginning getting the educators involved, but the kids were the driving force, tired of absenteeism and disruption of class.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

very interesting program. I would love some statistics on how successful it is. Good article Rob.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Unfortunately stats I do not have but when I'm in that area again I will enquire and see what is forthcoming.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks rob.

  
  about 8 years ago

Thanks Rob. This is a system that makes sense. Not only does it teach a lot of things the students need to know (It works)

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Thanks John for the read and comment.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Rob, Hmm... seriously? blessings, Cynthia

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Serious, I tried to explain the set up to Rebecca on her article, so did it here instead.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

Hmm. Interesting.

  
  about 8 years ago

This is another high-quality article you've put out. I really like your solution to the big problem that plagues many schools and their districts. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge!

Reply
  about 8 years ago

A pleasure Rebecca this was what I was trying to tell you on your article. I linked thru to yours so that the others can see where this article originated.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

I appreciate the link-through. I came back from a weekend trip and found that people continued to read that article while I was away.

Reply
  about 8 years ago

The glory is all yours Rebecca, my article was merely as an explanation for you.

  
  about 8 years ago
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