A Reader Writes… Getting Rid of ISS – Part 2

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In response to the 1/16/2013 post, “Getting Rid of ISS – Part 1,” a long-time LYSer writes:

SC,

I love the idea in principle, but what kind of culture change is required for students and administrators that addresses dress code and non-compliance issues for students who use those tools to stay out of the classroom?  Do we just send them home for the day and enforce the After School Suspension the following day?  That would seem to defeat the “keep them in the classroom” intentionality.  

I too believe in keeping students and instruction in the classroom.  ISS is a waste of time and effort and is not under the supervision of a certified teacher who could assist with instruction more effectively.  Allowing students to continue to remain in the class due to non-compliance issues defeats the purpose of the policies and procedures.  What is the balance point and practice for this issue in maintaining discipline on the one hand and instruction on the other?

SC Response You actually started to answer your first question yourself.  There are students who are looking for a reason to escape class.  What we have to ask ourselves is this, “Are we going to let children and adolescents to decide what is good for them or are we going to decide?”

If we are going to let students decide, then what exactly do we do? Just teach the easy to reach?  If we have students that are engaged in minor issues of defiance, we deal with that and put them back in class.  Out of dress code compliance, fix it and put them back in class.  Tardy, address it and put them back in class.  I know this may be crazy talk, but when I was an assistant principal in a 5A inner-city high school, I was able to solve most of my student consequence issues by having the student actually apologize to the teacher for acting like a (irresponsible, disrespectful, dumb) kid.

And yes, with some kids you will nag them seemingly daily. But here’s what I realized early on, those are the kids that often need you to nag them because their parents don’t do a good enough job of it at home.

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