Policing Our Students

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adorable blur bookcase books

Three arrests, and 24 calls to the police – California

7 years ago in South Carolina

4 years old referred to the police instead of principals in Illinois

6-year-old girl sits quietly in school as a book is read to her. Then suddenly, a police officer enters the room and orders her to stand up. He grabs the child’s hands and cuffs them as she cries – Illinois

6 – year – old in Florida

9 – year – old with Autism arrested in Indiana

9 – year -old arrested charged with Felony

If I have to resort to calling the police on a 6 year old – I am clearly in the wrong profession…

Building Relationships

Building relationships with difficult students is foundational in getting them to respond positively. Children tend to know when teachers have a vested interest in them. This knowledge helps to develop trust in their teachers’ desire to make decisions that will benefit them as individuals. The trust allows corrections to be made concerning student behavior without the probability of an escalated debate. Students can receive correction when they are certain that the person who is correcting them has spent time getting to know them and understands and respects their needs.


While removing behavior problems from the learning environment puts a band-aid on the problem it does little in terms of a long-term fix. Therefore, we must equip teachers with tools for working with a difficult student.

I see the removal of students from the learning environment all to often; either they are sent to the office with school security (not the police). Note: the behavior is NOT addressed, the student spends an hour or all day performing administrative tasks for the office staff – the student has now missed and entire class or an entire day of instruction paid for by the taxes of the parent. A parent who may or may not attend [Parent Teacher Association]

multiracial students sitting together and listening to classmate

PTA meetings are an opportunity for the parents to discuss their child’s academic performance with the teachers. You should know about your child’s strongest and weakest subjects, what are the proofs of his strengths and weaknesses in those subjects, and how improvements can be made in any particular area of concern.

Teach Appropriate Behavior and/or Behavior Modification

As important as it is to teach state academic learning standards, it is equally important to teach appropriate behaviors. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen educators make is assuming that students will enter our classrooms knowing which behaviors are appropriate and inappropriate. We must adopt the philosophy that appropriate classroom behavior must be taught if we hope to effect positive change in the actions of our students.

Behavior modification is a means of changing behavior through various techniques used to replace undesirable behaviors with desirable ones. Behavior modification techniques have been used to treat both adults and children

  • Positive reinforcement is using a reward for positive behavior to make sure the child continues with the desired behavior. It is the most effective method of shaping behavior because it is the most pleasant. For example, praise and reward are both used in positive reinforcement.
  • Negative reinforcement is taking something unpleasant away to reinforce good behavior. You are not actually doing anything negative. For example, your child may choose to do their homework without being reminder to avoid nagging.

Did we not have problems with children decades ago or have we as teachers lost the love of teaching that we no longer want to do more than the basics…