The impact of Discipline practices in Schools
Recently the office of civil rights provided a report in the disproportional practices of discipline practices that often involved the practice of seclusion and restraining students with disabilities.
This practice is not new the practice originate in colonial times and has prevalently implemented in over 18 states. Including Georgia.
My State is a beautiful state; rich in history that reflects past conservative values that have not always serve Justice nor have always uphold Constitutional guaranties for all individuals.
We have overcome many challenges in these areas.
If we hope to continue to work towards ensuring that opportunity, personal security, freedom, and equal opportunity is available and provided to all its citizens, this needs to be reflected by the protections and guaranties our legislative laws offers for all citizens, including individuals with disabilities.
Our Constitution of 1877 defines that Constitutional text should interpret the laws of the land consistent with the Common Law that precedes. It also refers as how; the appointed individuals trusted to Govern with the people should differ content, statues that balance the compelling advancement of society needs with careful balance of the statutes, regulations and laws that sought to uphold the rights of all individuals and needs of the people.
The U.S. Supreme Court made their opinion clear in the Case of Garcia V. Santa Fee School district.
In analyzing the practices that are allowed by States statute of allowances of Corporal Punishment in Schools. Children with disabilities that are constrained to seclusion and restrain, Acts of punishment that would be considered to surpass and violate the traditional common Law standard, withow adequate state remedies and clearly violates Due Process Rights under the Eight Amendment and the guarantees from the 14 Amendment. The Supreme Court have provide their opinion according to the guidance of constitutional laws that apply.
From the opinion of Garcia V. Santa Fee School district, we first consider whether corporal
punishment of a school child, in any degree of excessiveness, can violate substantive rights under the Due Process Clause. Despite the Supreme Court’s explicit disclaimer that it was deciding that issue in Ingraham v. Wright, 430 U.S. 651, 97 S.Ct. 1401, 51 L.Ed.2d 711
we believe that Ingraham requires us to hold that, at some point, excessive corporal punishment violates the pupil’s substantive due process rights. Rejecting the four dissenters’ views that corporal punishment could violate the Eighth Amendment, the majority found the Due Process Clause applicable. The Court declared that “corporal
punishment in public schools implicates a constitutionally protected liberty interest.”
at 672, 97 S.Ct. at 1413. It recognized that among the liberty interests ” ‘long recognized at common law as essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men’ ” is the “right to be free from, and to obtain judicial relief for, unjustified intrusions on personal security,” including “bodily restraint and punishment.” Id. at 673-74, 97 S.Ct. at 1413-14. (Quoting Meyer v. Nebraska, 262 U.S. 390
, 399, 43 S.Ct. 625, 626, 67 L.Ed. 1042 (1923)). “
(“[W]here school authorities, acting under state law, deliberately decide to punish a child
for misconduct by restraining the child and inflicting appreciable physical pain, we hold
that Fourteenth Amendment liberty interests are implicated.” Id. 430 U.S. at 674, 97 S.Ct. at 1414 (footnote omitted). This language plainly indicates that the infliction of corporal punishment can affect a fundamental right susceptible to substantive due process protection.
Schools often resort to these ineffective practices as a choice for redirecting behavior and punishment. While there is a clear alternative that requires providing training in effective practices for the many professionals that work with this populations. This is not a choice schools choose, nor an investment schools embrace.
The recent reports from the American Bar Association to the Commission on Disabilities Rights, and the report from the Department justice. The 2018 report from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) provide clear Data, that shows the disparity in Discipline that children with disabilities suffer every day. Many organizations call for the federal, State, Local and territorial and tribal government to adopt and enforce legislation as well as educational Policy that Prohibits school personnel from using Seclusion, mechanical and chemical, physical restraints on preschool, elementary, and secondary students.
Many states have legislative Laws that prohibit seclusion and restrain but provides options for Schools to enlist in applying these traumatizing practices as a resort to redirect misunderstood behaviors. Unfortunally for many children these practices are being used discriminatively on Selective populations. African American, Latino and individuals with disabilities are being disproportionately targeted. This is reflective of the reports from the Office for Civil Rights including the report from the Governor’s office that provides Data of the overused of these resorted practices on this populations.
In a 2020, report from the National Center on Intensive Intervention and The Center on Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports. Using Office Discipline Referrals as a Behavioral Screener: Considerations from the (NCII), and (PBIS.)
ODRs Referrals are the method schools use to Discipline Students and to Identify students for behavioral interventions. A report provided by the What Works Clearing House (American Institute for Research) The Science Institute reviews intervention programs in Education.
The report Noted few schools use Validated Screening assements to proactively identify students for Behavioral Supports. The report’s findings that this lack of utilization could be due to the Cost and the time and effort Educators must invest in completing the validated Screening. Instead, schools often use ODRs Office referrals to identify students with Behavioral Interventions.
ODRs are defined by the report as
-Offences that represent students’ non-Compliance, defiance, or violation of a school rule
-Student engages in behavior /conduct that violates a rule or social norm in the school.
There are consequences from the students Behavior such a written permanent outcome or temporary consequences from behavior(s).
The report provides varies sources of research in which it founded the opinion. That demonstrates that ODRs referrals are preferred because it is cost effective/ Data is easily Collected (observation) and readily available.
In the same research the report emphasizes the faults and inconsistencies of relying in ODR alone as a Identification Tool. this is criticized by the report, for solently using this as a screening tool in identifying students in need of Behavior interventions. The report also makes reference “this practice will provide erroneous information abouth groups of students and miss the students that need Interventions.”
It is important to emphasize the critique of the practice from the report is providing a subject of implementation that needs to be review. The continuing implementation of this practices have afflicted selective populations, creating a disproportion in circumstances for students that have carried lasting consequences and have negative outcomes for the populations this practice selectively targets.
We also need to note recent compiled data reports from (OCR) Office for Civil Rights, the Department of Justice amount others including the Federal mandated collected Data, that shows the Discipline disparities in other populations not mentioned by this report.
Data shows disproportion in referrals for African American Males/ females students with disabilities and Latino males / Latino with disabilities/ students with Behavioral disorders/ disabilities.
ODRs have been critiqued for use as a behavioral screener for the following reasons:
• The marked differences between teacher tolerance of behavior and diverse classroom management styles create variability in which behaviors warrant discipline referrals (Girvan, Gion, McIntosh, & Smolkowski, 2017; Morrison, Peterson, O’Farrell, & Redding, 2004; Morrison & Skiba, 2001).
• ODRs do not identify students with internalizing challenges (e.g., anxiety, withdrawal) that need intervention (McIntosh, Campbell, Carter, & Zumbo, 2009; Walker, Cheney, Stage, & Blum, 2005);
• Students from the following demographic groups are more likely to receive ODRs than their peers: Black/African American, students receiving free or reduced-price lunch, students with emotional or behavioral disorders (EBDs), and males (Anyon et al., 2014; Skiba et al., 2011; Smolkowski Girvan, McIntosh, Nese, & Horner, 2016)
While the report identifies some benefits from using ODR Data as bridge of measuring overall school health, school climate, school engagement, and effectiveness of schoolwide interventions.
The report also mentions ODR data may be used to identify teachers and staff who may benefit from further classroom management training
What parents can do
Parents can ensure children are not being restrained not seclude or being subjected to Inappropriate disciplinary practices, by including a Letter from their children pediatrician or health care provider or psychologist that describes the emotional and mental harm such discipline practices will cause on student.
• Make your self familiar with the guidance practices for your State and local district.
• Discuss this with your child and set clear expectations for behavior.
• Students Behavioral plan needs to include appropriated holistic, remedial meassures
appropriate for their students’ circumstances and developed to help in remediating and
addressing the specific needs of the individual.
• Provide to your child’s caregiver a document that contains specific information on students’ behavior triggers that result from factors or social interaction environmental or other relate information that would facilitate Educators in managing behavioral challenges.
• Parent can request parent training in specific remediation strategies for parent as well as educators that would support student in school as well as a home in providing consistent behavioral approaches in all the students environments. This is specific of IDEA.
• Discuss with your child’s team and caregivers clear discipline expectations. Share strategies what works for you in helping your child at home.
A holistic approach means to provide support that looks at the whole person, not just their
mental health, behavioral needs. The support should also consider their physical, emotional, social wellbeing.
• De-escalation practices- this can be supported at school and home such from the recommendations from the best practices from evaluation and treatment.
• Redirection of behavior – this can be supported at school and home.
• Reward system for good behavior – this can be supported at school and home.
*Environmental and supportive modification, of Behavioral triggers.
*Avoidance of restraints and coercive measures, such as using threats.
*In the exceptional circumstances When intervention is necessary to avoid harm to self, the least restrictive intervention should be chosen.
*Keeping a record of discipline incidents will provide useful information such; identify pattens, triggers. It will also provide valuable information of effective or ineffective remediation strategies.
*Techniques, both verbal and nonverbal, such as using nonthreatening body language and simple words and phrases.
*IES Standards in Education Research/ report National Center on Intensive Intervention /Using Office Discipline Referrals as a Behavioral Screener: Considerations from the (NCII), and (PBIS.)
*Report Overview of Exclusionary Discipline Practices in Public Schools can be found at the Office of Civil Rights website hhttps://ocrdata.ed.gov./
*(Best Practices in Evaluation and Treatment of Agitation) guidelines developed by the AAEP
Opinion by Parent education for exceptional children
Disclaimer / The opinions of the author are not intended to be advice. Data Analysis in article is taken from information that is public record.