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Is high school discipline a thing of the past?

By Ruth Puentespina


If you’ve seen that viral video going around social media of a Caucasian teenage male screaming derogatory, racist language at his Asian male teacher, hearing about the lack of discipline in high schools across the United States won’t come as a surprise to you. In an effort to more effectively promote discipline and get the results that they want, school districts across the country have involved their students in the revision of their schools’ Codes of Conduct. This is done through peer reviews and for spinning disciplinary action as a way to (ironically) “Stick it to the Man”. This may not be enough, but given the amount of work that needs to be done to cater to all parties (students, teachers and school administration), fairly involving each group is a step in the right direction.

In Hong Kong, the EDB established the Whole School Approach to Guidance and Discipline in 1990 as a way to help students develop self-respect, self-discipline, a sense of responsibility and respect for others. However, this may or may not be applied in international schools or schools whose policies do not completely fall within the jurisdiction of the EDB.

In both cases, it is clear that the ways in which discipline is promoted in schools are not as effective as they use to be. Considerations for factors that affect behaviour need to constantly be revisited, and policy revision is important to cater to continuously changing social norms to ensure that safety, well-being and care is taken when dealing with our high schoolers.


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