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Articles: Student Conduct

Author Nancy Willard tackles the age-old problem of bullying with 21st century solutions.

Positive Relations @ School (& Elsewhere): Legal Ramifications & Positive Strategies to Address Bullying & Harassment

Embrace Civility in the Digital Age

More states are allowing schools to have armed staff to defend students against active shooters, nearly a year and a half after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.

In 2013, 21 states strengthened gun laws to require trigger-locking devices and background checks for private sales, says Laura Cutilletta, senior staff attorney at the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. At the same time, the National Rifle Association (NRA) made a public push to allow more security guards or staff members to carry guns in schools, after 40 to 60 hours of firearms training.

At Sells Middle School in the Dublin City School District in Ohio, school administrators are using the Complete Student Safety and Behavior System technical tool to track student tardiness and how it might relate to school fights.

It was a lunch hour more than 10 years ago when Terri Lozier, now a principal in another district just outside Chicago, was sucked into the violence of a school fight. Then a teacher, she was supervising the cafeteria when one girl tried to strangle another.

Some administrators are analyzing student traffic patterns to eliminate the bumping, pushing and shoving—and in turn, the fighting—that occurs in overcrowded hallways and stairwells.

Randy Boardman of the Crisis Prevention Institute says that one middle school with particularly narrow hallways solved the problem by cutting down on hallway traffic.

Kevin Kinker of K-9 Interventions brings his search dog Anna to Mona Shores Public Schools. Anna can detect drugs, alcohol and guns.

Students in a Michigan district say they feel safer this year thanks to dogs that regularly search schools for weapons and illegal substances, a new survey shows.

Daniel Mahoney is vice president of risk control for Glatfelter Public Practice, a public entity specialist providing risk management services and insurance products to schools.

Medical emergencies can happen in any school at any time. They can be the result of pre-existing health problems, accidents, violence, unintentional actions, natural disasters and toxins. Premature deaths in schools from sudden cardiac arrest, blunt trauma to the chest, gunshot wounds, asthma, head injuries, drug overdose, allergic reactions and heat stroke have been reported.

Fourth grade teacher Joan Meehan works with student Erica Moye. Meehan had the same students in third grade and says they’re making progress.

Crowds of students who’d left their classes without permission used to prowl the halls of the K8 Clemente Leadership Academy in New Haven, Conn. Students fought, used profanities and verbally abused staff. Teachers spent more time on discipline than instruction. Clemente, long known as a place to send troubled students, sunk under the weight of low expectations to become one of New Haven’s lowest-performing schools.

Less than half of U.S. states have policies to combat cyberbullying in schools despite recent media coverage of students who committed suicide after suffering persistent online harassment.

A Northern Valley Regional High School junior protested the random drug testing policy at a September school board meeting, saying that the testing would make students feel like criminals.

A New Jersey district’s proposal to randomly drug test students in extracurricular activities has parents and the school board divided over district transparency.

The board at Northern Valley Regional High School District in Bergen County, N.J., voted in July to draft a policy for the testing as a supplement to other education-based drug prevention efforts in the district of two high schools.

A bookkeeper’s calm demeanor in talking down an armed intruder saved her suburban Atlanta school from experiencing another potential Sandy Hook tragedy on Aug. 20.

After years of torment from bullies, 15-year-old Bart Palosz of Greenwich, Conn., took his own life on the first day of school in September. His death has led many to question the effectiveness of district bullying policies, and whether or not school leaders are responsible for identifying students who may harm themselves.

Pamela Cantor is the president and CEO of Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit organization that partners with public schools to address the challenges to teaching and learning that stem from poverty.

There are alternatives to meting out punishment that treats our school children like criminals. Instead of sending students to the principal’s office or worse—calling police into classrooms to deal with disorderly conduct—schools can equip their teachers with tools proven to create safe, supportive learning environments and defuse disruption. The very things that mitigate student stress and bad behavior make a school what it’s supposed to be: a healthy and productive place to learn.

Students in the Los Angeles Unified School District will no longer face suspension for minor acts like not coming to class prepared or refusing to remove a hat.

In 11 states, scores for school climate are becoming as important as those for math and reading, thanks to a new score card that allows administrators to learn where they need to improve school safety, student engagement, and overall learning environment.

Florida’s Marion County School Board has again allowed paddling in elementary schools, three years after banning corporal punishment. Though administrators did not recommend the move, three of five school board members voted the measure in, says Kevin Christian, a spokesperson for Marion County Public Schools. One of those leading the charge was a former elementary school principal who believes paddling works to curb behavioral issues.