I have taught in the American public school system for 18 school years now, and it is obvious to me that, in general, its discipline is too lax. There will be bad students and bad parents, but, in many cases, the American public school system is not designed to deal with such problematic people wisely. The result is that many students are not learning as much as they should because too many students are misbehaving too much. To a large extent, the metaphorical inmates are running the metaphorical asylum. That is why I offer the following plan to fix the discipline in the American public school system.
A rule-able student is a student who is mentally and emotionally able to follow all the school rules. The following discipline system is meant for such students. A non-rule-able student is a student who is not mentally and emotionally able to follow all the school rules. The following discipline system might have to be modified to be fair to such a student.
- All high school students should be taught two ways to discipline their children: a way that does not involve spanking and a way that involves spanking. Both discipline systems should be fair, effective, compassionate, and developed by experts. The goal is to have all future parents know how to raise well-behaved and happy children.
- At the beginning of each school year, every parent and guardian should be mailed a form that says something to this effect: “The following school employees have my permission to paddle my child: Any principal or teacher, Only a principal, No school employee may paddle my child.” Then the school will follow that parent or guardian’s wish, as long as it is not contradicted by another parent or guardian of the child. If it is contradicted, then the less violent wish will be the policy regarding paddling.
- A strike is a warning for a Level One Infraction. A Level One Infraction is something as problematic as interrupting the learning environment by talking when one is supposed to be silent, or throwing a small ball of paper in a way that is not very dangerous and does not hit someone. Three strikes in one class earn a student five hits or a lunch detention. A hit is one whack on the butt of a student with a paddle. The whack should be painful but not cause a bruise, broken bone, or bleeding.
- Five hits or lunch detention. Lunch detention is when a student silently eats lunch in a silent room. If a student earns two or more lunch detentions in two or more classes and/or passing periods during one day (i.e. one 24-hour period of time), he or she earns ISS. A student will also earn a lunch detention for doing a Level Two Infraction. A Level Two Infraction is something as problematic as calling a teacher a “stupid jerk” loudly and in the midst of class or hitting another student with a ball of paper which was thrown. It should also be mentioned that, if a student earns three strikes during her or his lunch detention, he or she will automatically earn ten hits or ISS.
- Ten hits or ISS. ISS stands for In-School Suspension and is when a student is put by her or himself in a room which resembles a solitary-confinement jail cell. ISS is instantly earned for doing a Level Three Infraction. A Level Three Infraction is something as problematic as punching a student in a violent way which does not very much damage that student, or for skipping a lunch detention.
The following describes how long a student should be put in ISS based upon his or her grade level.
Kindergarten = 30 minutes
Grade 1 = 45 minutes
Grade 2 = 1 hour
Grade 3 = 2 hours
Grade 4 = 3 hours
Grade 5 = 4 hours
Grade 6 = 5 hours
Grade 7 = 6 hours
Grade 8 = 7 hours
Grade 9 = 8 hours
Grade 10 = 8 hours
Grade 11 = 8 hours
Grade 12 = 8 hours
If a student makes a mess in the ISS room, she or he should be required to completely clean it as soon as possible and in a timely manner. A timely manner means that the student works at either a fast or medium speed. If there is time in the school day for the student to finish cleaning the ISS room, he or she should clean it that school day. If there is not, she or he should clean it at the beginning of the next school day.
A student who refuses to clean the mess that he or she made in the ISS room in a timely manner should be given another day of ISS, and a student who tries to seriously hurt her or himself while in ISS should be sent to either private school or reformatory.
- Private school or reformatory. A private school is a school separate from the public school system. When a student is so poorly behaved at a regular public school that he or she earns reformatory, her or his parents or guardians have a choice: either remove the student from the public school system and put him or her in a private school, or let the public school system place the student in a reformatory. A reformatory is a cross between a jail and a school. Parents and guardians may visit their child there and even take their child out of it during school vacations, but otherwise the child must stay at the reformatory.
A student earns reformatory if she or he earned either 300 or more hits for doing ISS-worthy misbehaviors within one year (365 days), or for earning 240 hours or more of ISS in one year. Reformatory is instantly earned for seriously trying to hurt oneself in ISS and/or for doing a Level Four Infraction. A Level Four Infraction is something as problematic as purposefully and violently hurting another student badly, or rudely pushing a school employee at school.
The following describes how long a student should be put in reformatory based upon his or her age in years.
Less than seven = 0 days
Seven = 3 days
Eight = 7 days
Nine = 30 days
Ten = 50 days
Eleven = 100 days
Twelve = 150 days
Thirteen = 200 days
Fourteen = 250 days
Fifteen = 300 days
Sixteen = 350 days
Seventeen = 365 days
Older than seventeen = 365 days
- Private school or solitary confinement. When a student is so poorly behaved in reformatory that she or he earns solitary confinement, his or her guardian has a choice: either remove the student from the public school system and put her or him in a private school, or let the public school system place the student in solitary confinement. Solitary confinement is when a student is placed in a cell where he or she cannot communicate with anyone else verbally or see anyone else. Solitary confinement should not exceed the following number of days for the following ages.
Seven = 1 day
Eight = 2 days
Nine = 10 days
Ten = 20 days
Eleven = 30 days
Twelve = 40 days
Thirteen = 50 days
Fourteen = 60 days
Fifteen = 70 days
Sixteen = 80 days
Seventeen = 90 days
Older than seventeen = 100 days
- Juvenile prison. A juvenile prison is a prison for people between and including the ages of seven and seventeen. Students who seriously attempt to hurt themselves in reformatory or solitary confinement should be put on suicide watch in juvenile prison until they are no longer likely to kill themselves. Juvenile prison is also instantly earned for doing a Level Five Infraction. A Level Five Infraction is something as problematic as maiming, disfiguring, murdering, and/or raping someone else. The infraction can happen in any location, not just in a public school facility.
If a student was put in juvenile prison because she or he seriously tried to hurt him or herself, her or his parents or guardians may take him or her out of the juvenile prison and put her or him in a private school. However, if a student was put in a juvenile prison because he or she committed a Level Five Infraction, she or he cannot be taken out of the juvenile prison until he or she has served all of her or his punishment there. Once that punishment is served, then his or her parents or guardians may put her or him in a private school.