For School Leaders: Making Decisions on Discipline

By: Admin 01 June, 2017

Making disciplinary decisions is a major task for School Principals. They should not be dealing with every issue on their own, they should focus on the bigger picture.


Handling discipline issues can be time consuming. Sometimes they require research and investigation. Sometimes the students may not be cooperative. But it is essential that you are vigilant and thorough on the investigation. It is also crucial to understand that many factors are to be taken care of while making a decision. Keep in mind the history of the student, the severity of the situation and your past decisions in similar matters.


Below are a few examples of scenarios and actions that can be taken.





Fighting is dangerous and often leads to injury. The older the students involved in the fight are, the more dangerous the fight becomes. Create a strong policy with strong consequences to discourage such behavior.

Example: Two senior male students get into a fight. One may have a broken nose, other a history of fighting incidents. Contact parents of both students. Suspend the student with multiple issues of violence for ten days. Suspend the other for five. Make it clear that no further issues will be tolerated in school.


Disrespecting Continuously


The teacher may have tried to handle the situation but no success, the student is arrogant and adamant. The teacher is now asking the principal to step in.

Example: A senior class student argues with the teacher in class. Punishments and threats have not worked. Set up a meeting with the teacher and parents of the students. Get to the root of the problem. It may be possible that household conditions are affecting the students’ in-school behaviour. Reason with the parents and also have a chat with the student.


Incomplete work


Many students have this habit of not completing their work or not submitting their work at all. The teacher will have tried to sort out this issue on her own but most likely this has now become a serious problem. The teacher will then ask the principal for help.

Example: A student fails to complete his/her homework. This has been going on for the past few months now. The teacher has contacted the parents, and they have been cooperative. Setup a meeting with all parties involved. Ask the student to stay back after school if possible. Or, cancel free periods for the student and assign a teacher to make them do their homework in school itself. Also, explain it to the student that this will not happen if they promise to obey.


Use of profanity


Students of all ages mirror what they see and hear. This often drives the use of profanity at school. Older students especially use inappropriate words often to impress their friends. This situation can quickly get out of control and lead to larger issues.

Example: A 10th grade student telling another student an obscene joke that contains the “F” word is overheard by a teacher in the hallway. This student has never been in trouble before. Profanity issues can warrant a wide range of consequences. Context and history will likely dictate the decision you make. In this case, the student has never been in trouble before, and he was using the word in the context of a joke.


This article has been inspired by and contains excerpts from an article on Thought Co website. Read the original here.