Discipline, Part One

I am confused about behavior and consequences in school. Last year, the teacher used a colored card system where reaching red meant a trip to the principal’s office. After a while the principal told the teacher to stop sending him kids, similarly to your situation. This year, the kids are a bit older and the teacher uses a mostly positive system of discipline. Incidents are less. And this is a good lesson to me to learn to navigate ‘bad behavior’ and find a way to make it ‘good’. However my core instinct is to have a big metaphorical stick to create an environment where staying in between the lines is understood to be prudent. Perhaps this is the subject for a different course, but since it’s come up, I’m curious what recourse teachers really have. Throwing things at teachers seems like an unacceptable transgression and should require immediate and dire consequences. If a trip to the principal’s office is off the table, what is there? Likewise, I gather in many environments, a suspension is not such a bad penalty. The harder core kids would probably prefer that to school anyway. I just don’t know how I would establish an environment of discipline in that environment. The only tool I’d have would be love of learning or committment to the rewards of the education (reading, writing, HS diploma, etc). If that’s not of interest to the hard cases and if there’s no major negative incentive, what’s left?

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