Who is responsible for classroom discipline?Most people would say that the classroom teacher is responsible. However, that is not necessarily the case. It is true that teachers must do what they can to control discipline in their rooms, but once that is done, responsibility goes to the administration. In reality, teachers can do three things: (1) use their own actions and discipline plan; (2) contact parents; and (3) send the student to the office. After that, there is little a teacher can do. This newsletter deals with Chapter 37 of the Texas Education Code. This is where most of the state laws regarding discipline can be found. It should be remembered that more teachers will be non-renewed, sued, and/or have their evaluation lowered because of problems in this area than all other areas. If you need help, call your association. Don’t wait until it is too late.
What is the teacher’s role in handling classroom discipline problems?Teachers are expected to handle classroom discipline problems, but sometimes nothing seems to work —not phone calls or letters to parents, not meetings with parents, not even trips to the office. State legislators meant for teachers to have the power to remove such a student.
What is the duty of the administration? When can a teacher send a student to the office?Section 37.002 (a) of the Texas Education Code says:
“A teacher may send a student to the campus behavior coordinator’s office to maintain effective discipline in the classroom. The campus behavior coordinator shall respond by employing appropriate discipline management techniques consistent with the student code of conduct adopted under Section 37.001 that can reasonably be expected to improve the student’s behavior before returning the student to the classroom. If the student’s behavior does not improve, the campus behavior coordinator shall employ alternative discipline management techniques, including any progressive interventions designated as the responsibility of the campus behavior coordinator in the student code of conduct.”This section of the law clearly gives the teacher the right to send a student to the office to maintain discipline. It also places the responsibility for change in the student’s behavior on the principal.
What does the law say about the removal of a student?Section 37.002 (b) of the Texas Education Code goes on to say:
“A teacher may REMOVE from class a student: (1) who has been documented by the teacher to repeatedly interfere with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn; or (2) whose behavior the teacher determines is so unruly, disruptive, or abusive that it seriously interferes with the teacher’s ability to communicate effectively with the students in the class or with the ability of the student’s classmates to learn.”This law clearly gives the teacher the power to remove any student who REPEATEDLY interferes with the teacher’s ability to teach. At this point, the teacher is asking that the student be permanently removed from his/her class under Chapter 37.002.