Schools initiating proactive discipline

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 8, 2006

The emphasis will be on catching Butler County students &#8220doing something right” beginning this fall.

With school discipline identified as a major area of concern during the school system's strategic planning process earlier this year, county principals are looking at steps to improve student behavior in a nontraditional way.

Positive Behavior Supports, or PBS, is described by Reginald Eggleston, administrative assistant over Special Services for Butler County, as a &#8220purposeful and well-thought-out process of improving student behavior, and ultimately increasing student achievement.”

The new system will shift the focus away from the typical forms of discipline used in schools.

&#8220We are all familiar with the punitive disciplinary actions such as, after-school detention, Saturday School, in-school and out-of-school suspension, alternative school and expulsion. PBS takes a different approach,” Eggleston said.

With PBS, the focus will be on creating procedures and setting expectations that are clearly communicated to students, parents and the community. The goal is to improve behavior and support a climate conducive to teaching and learning.

&#8220We will emphasize good decision making and self-correction on the part of the students, and stress the importance of school personnel establishing rules that are taught, not just talked about. All students will be expected to follow these rules in every classroom while teachers and administrators will be expected to enforce them,” Eggleston said.

The PBS Program is currently being used in several other states, including Georgia and Hawaii, with good results, Eggleston said.

&#8220Also, Positive Behavioral Supports will be mandated by the state in 2007-2008 for all schools. We want to be proactive and get the system into place now, so any kinks can be worked out and we can make changes as needed,” Eggleston explained.

&#8220We also see this early implementation as another way to get the parents and community involved in improving the schools.”

Butler County Schools Superintendent Mike Looney says Positive Behavior Supports will offer &#8220consistency in schools and classrooms, as a clear system of expectations is presented to all students.”

&#8220We want to reward them when students do the right thing, and still have them face the consequences when they do wrong,” the superintendent said.

Looney said the confusion over acceptable moral conduct so common in today's society is &#8220spilling over into all schools, public, private and parochial.”

&#8220We hope to better deal with these issues of moral conduct through the PBS program in our local school system,” he said.

Eggleston believes PBS will be a positive step in addressing bad behavior and cutting down on discipline referrals.

&#8220We want to reward the students who are doing the right things. Of course, punitive measures are always necessary to some degree, and this will still be enforced,” Eggleston stressed.

&#8220Our hope is that the students will learn the right kinds of behavior benefit you not only in school, but later, and in all walks of life.”