Addressing Student Behavior Issues in K-12 Public Schools

A slew of liberal ideas has contributed to this becoming a formidable problem…

I’m distressed that U.S. K-12 public school student behavior issues continue to increase. Without properly addressing that, at least four major problems result:

1) the disruptive student is likely destined to be academically deficient for life,

2) other students in the same class are penalized by getting a lower quality education,

3) some teachers will resign due to frustration from such distractions, and

4) societally we are ALL adversely impacted by the prior three consequences.

Clearly this is a BIG DEAL. I’m not part of the education system, so am free to propose some possible creative Critical Thinking solutions. Feel free to make comments (at the end) to add other constructive Critical Thinking ideas. (FYI, here is an interesting April 2024 K-12 education poll by Pew. Here are some additional informative education-related statistics.)… Briefly, some ideas:

1 — Have cameras in all classrooms.

Human nature as it is, some students will behave better if they know that they are being watched and listened to. Also, an audio-visual video will usually resolve who the protagonist is in a dispute. Further, a video will be very helpful in defending good teachers from inaccurate claims. (Of course, the video doesn’t have to be operating all the time.) The recommendation is that every middle school and high school classroom have at least one operating camera (plus maybe others that are not).

2 — Privately speak to the disruptive student.

In some cases, bad behavior is a cry for help, rather than an indication that the student is incorrigible. A good way of assessing this is for the teacher (or guidance counselor) to attempt to have a non-threatening private discussion with the student to see if there are some underlying issues. It would be good if every school had a set list of questions to ask, so that there is a reasonable effort made to cover all the bases. (Note: use audio-video evidence from #1 as needed.)

3 — Privately speak to the disruptive student’s parents.

Using the evidence from #1 and #2, the teacher (or guidance counselor) should do their best to meet with the parents. Enlisting the aid of the parents can be very helpful. If they are not cooperative, such a meeting will give the school worthwhile information to use in their plan for this student, going forward.

4 — Prohibit phones in classrooms.

There is little doubt that cellphones cause distractions and are disruptive. (Here is a sample article.) That bleeding heart liberals protest that such a ban will adversely affect a child’s “connectivity,” gives a clear indication of where the cause of most of our academic problems lie. There is no legitimate need for cellphones in classrooms. I went from K thru graduate school with never having a classroom phone for even one minute, and survived just fine.

5 — Teach all students to be Critical Thinkers.

Students who are Critical Thinkers would more likely think more about their actions — e.g., whether they are in the student’s best interest, whether they will adversely affect other students, how they will affect the teacher, etc. This would help install some basic standards (like “do onto others…”). Please review this list of over twenty (20) exceptional benefits that are available to Critical Thinkers.

6 — Cease and desist the teaching of atheistic SEL.

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as currently taught in US public schools, is really bad. I can’t say it any better than this: “If Judeo-Christian standards are considered taboo, what steps into this void and defines these virtues? Into this current moral vacuum slithers the antithesis of moral and character education, the vacuous SEL.” If SEL (as currently taught) is so great, there should be a marked decline in student misbehavior. The fact that the opposite is happening indicates SEL’s true value.

7 — Pass state laws prohibiting the teaching of political ideology.

Most Left-wing political ideology communicated in schools today, is divisive in nature. In other words it is actually encouraging disruptive student behavior. Recently Florida passed a law banning such material from being taught. That seems like an excellent and very large step in the right direction… Combine this with teaching patriotism, which conveys a strong unifying message.

8 — Drop the emphasis on high self-esteem.

High self-esteem is something that students earn, not that they are entitled to. National child-rearing expert, John Rosemond, politely calls this psycho-babble. Read his piece on high self-esteem, as he can describe the nonsense about it better than I.

9 — Stop the communication about Relativism.

Relativism is the delusion that there are no societal standards, because truth, right-and-wrong, etc. are all “relative” to each of us. If every student is allowed to decide what behavior is right, it should be self-apparent that this will lead to chaos.

10 — Have (and enforce) a dress code.

A dress code does not mean a uniform, but rather that there are some basic rules as to what is acceptable clothing to wear to school. Here is a reasonable article about the benefits of a dress code.

11 — Have separate male and female classrooms.

From middle school on, a definite part of misbehaving is due to trying to impress those of the opposite sex. It stands to reason that having separate classes for biological boys and girls, will reduce such behavior. (I’m speaking from first-hand experience here, as went to co-ed K-8, all boys high school, and co-ed college and graduate school. It was a resounding success.)

12 — Pass state laws allowing more student discipline.

In response to the increased bad behavior of some students, state lawmakers are passing laws allowing stricter discipline. That said, without most of the other actions recommended here, more discipline will not likely solve the problem.

Not surprisingly, liberal education experts are opposed to essentially all of these ideas. Of course, following their council is exactly what has resulted in the current chaotic situation. This applies here: “One of the great mistakes is to judge policies and programs by their intentions rather than their results.” — Milton Friedman.

Isn’t it time that we say: Enough of your academic pontificating! We are returning to the real world where children are given a classical education and taught to be Critical Thinkers!

©2024. All rights reserved.

Here are other materials by this scientist that you might find interesting:

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1 reply
  1. Bob
    Bob says:

    I taught for 20 years after retiring from the military. Your suggestions fall into 3 categories for me: 1) Not just “No,” but…; 2) I’m with you 100%, and; 3) Nice thought, but it will never happen.

    Cameras fall into the first category. Attack parents micro-analyze everything teachers do. Remote teaching revealed teachers couldn’t win – everything we did offended SOMEBODY. Classroom cameras will stifle creativity and spontaneity, as well as subject teachers to those parents who always manage to take comments out of context. And don’t think for a second that unethical administrators (yes, we have them) won’t weaponize these videos against unfavored teachers. We might as well save money and fire all the teachers and replace them with CDs/DVDs.

    Talking to the parents is a given, however, within the first five seconds of meeting the parents of a disruptive student, it’s crystal clear WHY the student is disruptive. Plain and simple, bad parenting. And of course, it’s always the schools’ and teachers’ fault the kid doesn’t know how to act.

    I’m with you on cell phones. The trick is to find enough governors, superintendents, and principals to have the guts to implement it. And don’t forget the age group of the typical parent these days. Many grew up as entitled brats, constantly reminded that they were the center of the universe. It’s sickening to see how many of these parents think it’s imperative for their little precious to have their cell phone available at all times.

    I’m with you on the remaining points, however, I’ll only comment on the last three. A dress code is just another rule, and my experience is that school districts and principals are experts as making rules, but are often grossly negligent when it comes to enforcing them. The #1 goal of any superintendent and administrator, including principals, is “Don’t get sued.” They will cave to the parents every time, especially when they drop the “L” word.

    You are spot on as far as separate male and female classes. However, I’m afraid that concept falls into my third category – don’t hold your breath waiting for it to happen.

    Your final point on stricter state laws on discipline takes me back to my point on dress code. My state has very clear and concise laws concerning school discipline. However, superintendents and administrators are often reluctant to follow them. They’ll find every excuse and loophole to avoid holding students accountable for their actions. Another idea that falls into my third category.

    In short, the public education system is beyond repair, and many private schools are falling for the same siren song in order to chase government dollars. Today’s parents are more concerned about Little Johnny’s GPA vs. whether or not he actually learns anything. And too many teachers and administrators have become willing to hand out that ‘A’ just for showing up (or not). As long as that report card is full of ‘A’s, the kids are happy, the parents are happy, and the principals are happy. Until the kids grow up and can’t get jobs because they weren’t prepared for the real world.


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