Positive Behavior Systems are a bad idea for schools. First, why does anyone need a “system” dictating how students should behave?
Of course there are some instances where it’s a little complicated but I’m still not convinced you need something as intrusive as a mandated PBIS in your local district.
Let’s look at what PBIS says about itself and how it works:
One of the foremost advances in school-wide discipline is the emphasis on school-wide systems of support that include proactive strategies for defining, teaching, and supporting appropriate student behaviors to create positive school environments.
That sounds reasonable, doesn’t it? Perhaps.
Let’s look at how PBIS actually works at classroom level.
I’ll set the scene; you’re a parent and you receive a phone call from the school.
The school is calling to tell you that your child is getting a referral for assaulting another child on the playground. Your child brought a weapon to recess and purposely hurt another child with it.
Your child has been questioned by school authorities about intentions and whether or not he knew that the “weapon” he was in possession of was, in fact, a “weapon.” All of this without your knowledge or consent.
Of course this information will be going into the behavioral portion of all that data schools now collect on children.
When you arrive at school to try to make sense of the situation you are told by your child what happened to prompt the referral.
The weapon? A paperclip.
The situation: Your child has a paperclip in his pocket that he remembers is there when he goes to recess. He is playing with said paperclip and unbends part of it. The paperclip becomes tangled in a little girls’ open crochet sweater.
The recess duty is immediately called to the scene of the crime and dislodges said weapon from girl’s sweater.
Both children will live to see another day on the playground.
But not until we use the most loaded language ever in describing the innocent incident to both children’s parents, therefore scaring the bejeebus out of them.
Because of the systems in place owing to the lovely PBIS integration and all of its rules and mandates that have to be carried out because the law says it does and because your state signed away all common sense when they decided to apply for Race to the Top funding, your child is now branded as a trouble maker who physically assaults other children.
Of course you won’t hear about the behavior systems being called PBIS. You may recognize these names though: Zero Tolerance Policy, No Bully Zone, No Excuses University.
All of them created to strip all districts of common sense when dealing with children and their behavior.
This is the same sort of policy that creates situations that actually punish a child for being bullied because he had the wherewithal to record his bullies in action. He’s in trouble, but the bullies are not!
There are so many situations that I can point out that have happened to children, unfairly, because they had the audacity to step out of their government school mold and stand up for what’s right.
The above situation with the paperclip is a real story that happened to a friend of mine. I’ve not used names to protect the parent and child both. It is the perfect example of the ridiculous handcuffs that bureaucracy puts on districts and kids.
People, please wake up. Wake up and demand a change before it happens to your child. Before your child is labeled a menace to society simply for not walking lockstep with what the government wants.