While problem behavior in schools is not new, recent calls to improve discipline procedures have increased (Braaten, 2013). Unfortunately, typical approaches used by schools to prevent problem behavior often increase the problem (Nelson, 2012). Evidence suggests that the adoption of district-wide, zero-tolerance policies resulting in suspensions and expulsions from school do not improve student behavior (Skiba, 2012).
Existing literature suggests that since there is no one remedy for addressing problem behavior, effective school-wide approaches must consist of a broad range of strategies and sustained attention to multiple systems of intervention (Greenberg, 2013).
Past Discipline Approaches
Throughout the history of education, many different types of disciplinary systems have been applied by school systems for the sole purpose of controlling student behavior. These systems include corporal punishment, psychological abuse or neglect, and assertive discipline. Although two of these three topics are illegal at this time, they were all widely used in schools across the country.
Present Discipline Approaches
The Possible Effects of Suspensions and Expulsions
School suspensions and expulsions may seem to be an effective discipline method for severe and ongoing school disciplinary problems. However, these methods often create unforeseen problems, especially if they are applied in a zero-tolerance setting. In a policy statement, “Out-of-School Suspension and Expulsion,” published in the March 2013 issue of Pediatrics (published online Feb. 25), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) does not support zero tolerance policies and