Schools Must Heal, Not Punish
By Dr. Marciene Mattleman
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Jane Ellen Stevens in The Huffington Post writes that more than 23,000 schools out of 132,000 nationwide – schools that undertake supportive, compassionate, and solution-oriented discipline methods – can see a 20 to 40 percent drop in suspensions in their first year.
Instead of waiting for kids to behave badly and then punishing them, schools are creating environments where kids can succeed. Teachers can defuse most situations in their classrooms with their own conflict-resolution skills instead of sending disruptive kids to the principal’s office.
While research shows that programs such as Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, Safe & Civil Schools, , and HEARTS (Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools) have positive effects, they may not be enough.
A high percent of our children have experienced adversity – bullying, fighting and suspensions – and the trauma of punishment makes it worse.
Schools need to reach out to those already traumatized and withdrawn and create safer environments.