TREND Spring 2020 | Page 35

do not listen to parents or teachers. This lack of trust and respect is a serious problem. The latest trend to tackle the issue in schools is Restorative Justice. If you listen to experts the objective is to reduce the number of suspensions. However, in these efforts to reduce suspensions, other students and teachers are left suffering. Often, Restorative Justice is not concerned with rehabilitating offending students - the objective is to merely reduce suspensions and avoid punitive consequences for student actions. A frequent pattern of disruptive children being endlessly returned to the classroom without any actual change in their behavior is emerging. Schools have to be able to remove continuously disruptive students from classes. Ideally, constantly disruptive students should be placed in high-quality alternative education settings where they can receive long-term, intensive interventions. We especially need to strengthen the authority of teachers who manage defiant students. The concept of Restorative Justice may be noble, but the implementation is often flawed and harmful. Some of the other barriers for this form of discipline to work include that all participants have to buy into the process. That is never going to happen. Schools, parents, and students are never going to be on the same page regarding student discipline. The concept is not supposed to be an alternative to punishment, which it has become. The objective should be a change in behavioe, not just a reduction in student suspensions. Student discipline should be designed to improve behavior. In that regard, there is not just one victim. It is not a student versus a teacher scenario, but rather a chronically disruptive student interrupting an entire class of fellow students. Should parents be made aware when their child’s class is constantly interrupted? Many educators think so. These other students are victims, as is their education. Restorative Justice proponents are seeking to make educators take even more time away from instruction to put in effort and time to deal with a chronic behavior problem. The modeled misbehavior could have a negative impact on other students who are deprived of instruction time. They may emulate this negative behavior for attention. continued from page 22 way to prepare for school closures and how to handle the possible disruption of student learning. Implementing best practices and procedures will help prevent the spread of COVID-19. CDC Recommendations • Avoid close contact with people who are sick. • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. • Stay home when you are sick. • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash. • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe. • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. What we are seeing is the public health community trying to catch up to the speed of the virus. The public-school community will have to adjust as quickly. We need to take this virus seriously. Coronavirus (COVID-19) could have an impact for a long time.