Starkville Student Discipline Program versus Conceptual Framework
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Over the past years, a number of scientific studies on behavior amongst students have been conducted and, thus, a number of frameworks conceptualized for the best practices. This means that among other things, schools are expected to implement whichever method that works best for their specific circumstances. In the case of Starkville Academy, they have tried their best to live by their particular framework for safe and secure schools. The conceptual framework requires proactive interventions in issues of student discipline without necessarily alienating, humiliating or hurting students where possible. It also recommends a united front in relation to authority in that all the students, regardless of their position, respect all the adults in the school. In respect to resolution, the framework calls for an understanding between students and the school authority as well as parents on the mode of punishment that would be effective. In addition, other solutions include seeking mental and behavioral health experts’ intervention where necessary, as well as addressing alcohol and substance abuse organizations where relevant. This paper compares the said framework to the discipline program at Starkville in order to establish where the school may have deviated from the recommended best practices with regards to student discipline.
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At Starkville, parents and students are expected, among other things, to know and abide by the school rules and regulations. To ensure this, they are provided with a circular containing all the relevant rules and regulations before admission. They are expected to read through the circular and ask any questions before signing and submitting it upon admission. This means that the school is straightforward with both parents and students with regards to the Discipline Code; thus, ignorance cannot be used as in defense of one’s actions. Information is the basis in the framework, thus the school meets this first requirement.
Having established that parents and students are aware of the school’s rules and regulations, there must be a framework for dealing with violations of the school code. At Starkville, detention is in most instances a warning for considerably minor offences like chewing gum or inappropriate behavior like kissing while on school campus. However, these actions do not carry such light responses once repeated. In this way, the school adheres to the concept of intervention and allowance for reform. Students know when they are wrong and they are offered a chance to change, but the rules stop being lenient once they violate them repeatedly.
The most common forms of punishment for the serious offences and repetitions of the minor ones include suspension and expulsion, often final decisions except when a formal complaint is presented to the school board in writing within ten days of the expulsion. Students are often suspended for actions like drug and alcohol abuse or possession, harassment of students or adults on campus, or disrespect to authority within the school premises. In all these cases, students are usually expelled if they are repeat offenders while the first offenders get off with a one day to three weeks suspension. In the case of alcohol and substance abuse and possession, the school administration may inform the relevant authorities and involve a psychologist.
Considering this program in comparison with the conceptual framework, the school tries as much as they can to keep their students in line, but also avoid the kind of lenience that would endanger the rest of the students. In most cases, the school allows students to plead their cases with the principal; if they agree on terms of resolution, then they are able to get back into the system. In such instances, however, they need to commit themselves to behavioral change and, thus, they risk losing their place at school if they fail. This provides for correction and improvement where students understand when they receive punished, and why. They are also allowed to negotiate their preferred punishment; for example, they can trade in a one day suspension for three swats of the wooden paddle.
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The resolution policies at Starkville allow the school authorities to teach students that offenses must be punished even when there is remorse. As a result, students grow up expecting consequences for their actions and facing them with dignity. The school not only inspires its students to be upright citizens but also gets them to learn that bad behavior must be sanctioned while good behavior is rewarded.
In more ways than one, just like the framework under research, the discipline program at Starkville is dedicated to molding better citizens with respect to their ethical, moral and personal conduct. The school uses a similar framework to ensure that there are prevention measures by providing students with the discipline code, intervention by warning and detention, and resolution by suspension, expulsion and corporal punishment where necessary.
Schools are often inclined to do whatever is considered best when it comes to creating a safe and secure learning environment for students. In the case of Starkville, the administration has endeavored to ensure that they encourage students to be at their best behavior without necessarily using an iron hand. The school allows for reform and psychological counseling where required, although all offenses must be paid for in one way or another.