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Rochester, MN: Discipline lacking; more students needing social-emotional or behavioral support

Dec 1, 2017, Rochester (MN) Post Bulletin: Some teachers believe their authority is 'held back' http://www.postbulletin.com/news/education/some-teachers-believe-their-authority-is-held-back/article_c88da71d-59a0-571d-94d1-91a5e83500f4.html The main goal of the discipline system revisions are to keep children in the classroom so they're learning. But for teachers, this means handling more problems in the classroom, according to updates in a 40-page handbook distributed to teachers and students at the beginning of the school year. ... Teachers "feel in certain situations their authority is being held back and that's becoming a major issue," said one teacher, who spoke to the Post Bulletin on the condition of anonymity. They feel the changes effectively have restricted them from responding to serious student behavior problems, unless the behavior falls into one of three "serious" categories — possession or distribution of drugs or alcohol; possession of a weapon or "incendiary" device; or a lower-level offense that results in bodily or emotional harm. "There's kind of a disconnect between how things are dealt with in school and in real life," said the teacher. … The system is based on research that says punishment doesn't change student behavior, Muñoz said. Rather, teaching what's expected and reteaching that, if necessary, changes student behavior, he said. … He noted that's taking into account students across the mental health spectrum. "I have seen blatant physical assault happen; those kids are back in class that same hour," said another teacher, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What are you telling every other kid in that class? I'm not saying they should be locked up and throw the key away, but for God's sake." Centralized decision-making The other major shift for teachers and administrators is how more serious behavior problems are handled. … The district is working to train teachers to help them manage their classrooms in new ways. This year, the district is working to train all K-8 teachers and paraprofessionals in what's called "ENVoY"— a type of nonverbal classroom management technique that teachers can use to influence students in the classroom…. Both Muñoz and Kuhlman noted the uptick in students who need additional academic, social-emotional or behavioral support in recent years. …