Online Program

Positive school discipline: A comprehensive framework built from safe schools/healthy students best practices

Monday, November 4, 2013

Carol Bershad, MS, Center for School and Community Health Programs, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Deborah Haber, MEd, Center for School and Community Health Programs, Education Development Center, Inc., Waltham, MA
Background: Recent studies have demonstrated that suspensions and expulsions in U.S. schools have not only increased dramatically since the advent of zero-tolerance laws, but have also disproportionately affected African American students and students with disabilities. Significance: The short-and long-term costs of schools' over-reliance on suspension and expulsion include rising rates of academic failure and dropout, escalating behavioral problems, increased risk of violence and substance abuse, and a dangerous pathway from schools to the juvenile justice system—all significant public health issues. Purpose, Methodology: This session provides a comprehensive framework for positive school discipline based on interviews of Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) communities describing their implementation of the key components of positive school discipline. Findings: Federally funded SS/HS communities have achieved positive outcomes for youth by employing comprehensive supportive school discipline programs and practices that enhance school safety without increasing suspensions and expulsions. SS/HS sites' findings related to implementation of positive school discipline include decreases in truancy rates, office referrals, suspensions, and expulsions. Specific school-based data show decreases in violence-related suspensions and expulsions. Recommendations/Conclusion: Based on SS/HS communities' experiences implementing systemic positive discipline practices, four indispensable components for creating supportive learning environments are recommended: collaborative partnerships, data-based decision-making, system-wide use of evidence-based programs and practices, and engaging families as partners. By integrating these four components, school and community partnerships can successfully implement positive discipline best practices that help all students achieve healthy, productive lives.

Learning Areas:

Administration, management, leadership
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Describe a comprehensive framework for positive school discipline. Explain four key components for successfully implementing positive school discipline. Identify examples of best practices in positive school discipline. Describe recommended action steps for implementing a multi-pronged approach to positive school discipline. Identify a comprehensive online resource for implementing positive school discipline.

Keyword(s): School-Based Programs, Child and Adolescent Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have applied knowledge about high-risk youth and experience in educational systems to create materials on comprehensive approaches to children’s mental health and substance abuse prevention. I have helped school-community partnerships create lasting impact on youth mental health promotion/substance prevention through publications, presentations, and grantees trainings. I have presented a guide on a whole-school approach to children’s mental health at three national health conferences, including 6th annual World Mental Health Conference.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.