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Written Discipline Policies Used by Administrators: Do We Have Sufficient Tools of the Trade?

NCJ Number
Journal of School Violence Volume: 7 Issue: 2 Dated: 2008 Pages: 123-146
Pamela Fenning; Sara Golomb; Vivian Gordon; Maya Kelly; Rachel Scheinfield; Taylor Morello; Annie Kosinski; Cheryl Banull
Date Published
24 pages
The purpose of this study is to provide information about the amount of time that school administrators devote to discipline as a legal issue and to provide a direct content analysis of what is found in the written policies used to make discipline decisions.
The results indicate that over 37 percent of school administrators report handling discipline either frequently or daily. The content analysis of 64 written codes of conduct indicates that these documents were primarily punitive in nature with an emphasis on suspension and expulsion. Overall findings begin to fill the gap in the literature by showing the prevalence of exclusionary consequences in discipline codes of conduct, even for mild behaviors, such as tardiness and truancy. The data suggests that written discipline policies need substantial revision to be aligned with current mandates for a proactive approach to discipline. Based in this preliminary study, it appears that discipline codes of conduct appear to apply a “one size fits all approach” to all behavioral infractions; exclusionary and reactive procedures employed regardless of severity of behavior. The purpose of this study is two fold: (1) to present data from a national survey about school administrator reported time in discipline as a legal issue and (2) to present a content analysis of written discipline policies (codes of conduct) that are used by administrators to make discipline decisions. Tables, figures, references