LaWanda Toney, Strategic Communications Director
Position supports addressing behavioral issues on an individualized basis in schools
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Jan. 21, 2016) — National PTA’s board of directors adopted a new position statement on positive school discipline during its January board meeting last week. This is in response to recent events and research findings that overly punitive discipline policies are not effective in addressing or improving student behavior.
The statement supports positive school discipline policies that keep children in school and learning over exclusionary discipline policies (suspension and expulsion) that tends to exacerbate a child’s behavior problems by pushing students out of the place (school) created to support them and keep them safe. National PTA believes that exclusionary discipline practices should only be used in schools as a last resort effort to preserve the safety of students and staff.
“Research clearly shows that disciplinary strategies like zero-tolerance policies and automatic expulsions can lead to negative and even dangerous behaviors among students,” said James L. Accomando, president-elect of National PTA. “So it’s imperative that school discipline policies and practices address the cause of a student’s misbehavior, and improve positive behavior skills and overall student and school success.”
As outlined in the position statement, National PTA and its constituents are committed to promoting policies and procedures that:
- Replace exclusionary discipline whenever possible with evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks, such as positive behavioral interventions and supports (PBIS) that improve school climate and safety.
- Regularly examine school district discipline policies and procedures, and their impact on all groups of students.
- Provide students and their parents’ information about the school’s disciplinary policies and allow their voices to be heard throughout the disciplinary process.
- Require school districts to provide adequate training for all teachers, principals and school personnel on prevention and school-based interventions and alternatives to exclusionary discipline, including PBIS and Response to Intervention (RTI).
- Ensure adequate access to and retention of school counselors, school social workers and school psychologists to implement school-based interventions that promote positive school discipline.
An issue of increasing scrutiny and focus is the interaction between law enforcement officials in schools—typically referred to as School Resource Officers (SROs)—and students. National PTA believes if school officials determine there is a need for an SRO within a school building, there must be a clearly defined memorandum of understanding between the law enforcement agency and the school on the SRO’s role and responsibilities.
National PTA is committed to continuing to support effective policies and practices that ensure families, principals, teachers and other school personnel promote positive school discipline policies for all students.
“Every student deserves a safe and supportive classroom where they can learn,” said Shannon Sevier, National PTA vice president for advocacy. “Ensuring principals, teachers and other school officials have the ability and support to address behavioral issues on an individual basis will ensure that all students are getting the best education.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health and welfare of children and youth.