Consequences of Not Following Expectations
Whenever possible, the goal is to encourage students to take responsibility for their own behaviour and learn from the situation in order to foster their ability to do better in the future.
Three general levels of intervention are identified in order to distinguish between simple regulation difficulties and more concerning acting out behaviours that encroach on the safety of others:
1. Regulation Breaks
When a student requires more time or different activities than the rest of the class to regulate themselves, they should take a Regulation Break. For example, despite cues from teaching staff, a student may be unable to settle into classroom work, stop speaking out of turn, or let go of an issue with a peer. As well, dysregulation issues such as anxiety may manifest in the classroom.
We recognize that self-regulation skills do not develop quickly, they arise through explicit instruction and consistent scaffolding of these abilities over time. It is particularly important that over time we support students’ ability to develop insight, learn to tolerate distress, and gradually gain control over their emotions, behaviour, and academic focus.
Ideal qualities of a Regulation Break include:
- Being proactive and anticipating potential issues. If students are supported sooner rather than later it will be much easier for them to regulate.
- The adults involved in the situation are regulated and are able to listen to what the young person needs and provide empathy.
- They are self-identified by the student. Teaching staff will support self-awareness, over time students should become increasingly independent in recognizing when they need a Regulation Break and when they are ready to rejoin the class.
- They are as independent as possible. Younger students may need cues from staff to recognize when they need a regulation break, and/or require assistance in identifying methods for regulating themselves. However, we want students to become increasingly independent as they engage in self-regulatory activities to reduce taking teaching staff away from the class or require counselling psychology staff to be involved.
- They are not disruptive to the class or embarrassing to the student.
- They do not take the student away from too much class time. Ideally breaks are short (5 minutes or less), however, depending on the situation, this may not be realistic.
- Staff take an opportunity to debrief what does, and does not, work for students who regularly need Regulation Breaks. By doing so we can better understand patterns of concern, note helpful/unhelpful strategies, identify more proactive steps that could be taken, and recognize when progress is being made.
In class, the student is encouraged to:
- stand up and stretch
- use a fidget or hand/resistance tool
- sip on a drink
- work in the back room
- work standing up
- engage in breathing or progressive relaxation practices
Out of class, the students are encouraged to:
- go for a walk
- go and get a drink
- utilize positive self-talk
- have a break in the student lounge, etc…
2. Problem Solving/Reflection Plans (PSP)
When a teacher has dealt with an issue in the moment without success and given the student three warnings, the PSP or Reflection (this term is used with Team one students) teacher on duty is used. Warnings should include a verbal and non-verbal cue, proximity, and/or proximity with conversation separate from the students in class.
The student is sent to the main office and then directed to the PSP teacher, or, the PSP teacher is called to cover the class so that the teacher involved can work with the student individually.
Steps for Proximity
- Staff address the challenge to expectations with the larger class, outlining what they are looking for from them during this part of the lesson
- If things persist, staff focus their attention towards the student and make a discreet request from what behaviour they need from them.
- At this point, staff approach the student and in a quiet tone, highlight what they are observing (I can see you are having trouble with…), talk about how it is impacting the class and them to learn and make a request for a different behaviour (for this part of the lesson, I need you to…) providing them options (follow the expectations, take a break from class for a brief moment returning when ready and make time to chat at the end of the lesson. Staff reiterate the steps they have taken and that if it persists, they will need to follow through with a PSP.
- Give the student a PSP, staff pull students aside (preferably outside of class) and discreetly explain the steps they took to get to this point and what the student will need to do to serve the PSP (for many, it will be their first time).
Resulting Actions of a PSP
- PSP teacher supports the student to regulate and identify the situation (as per the PSP form
- PSP teacher works through a resolution process with the student (as per the PSP form)
- PSP teacher supports the student to clearly communicate the resolution to the teacher concerned.
- The teacher approves the PSP, and without judgement positively re-engages the student back into class, arranges the consequences and moves on.
- The PSP incident is reported by the teacher to the student’s homeroom teacher and homeroom assistant - who will then record the incident in Maplewood
- Parents are informed of the situation.
We always want to ensure that the focus is on student growth and development so that we are building motivated, engaged, positive learners and members of society. Therefore, our focus is on natural consequences for students, rather than punishments. Staff keep this in mind when creating appropriate and relevant consequences which will support their learning and increase the chances of future success. Punishments do not help students build skills. For example, a natural consequence at recess may be to take a brain break near a staff member rather than not go to recess. In that way, the student still gets an opportunity to get fresh air and exercise to regulate, and have an opportunity to practice social skills. If we must take a student’s time, after school or before school are appropriate times to do this.
3. Administrator Involvement:
If the student is a threat or danger to themselves, other students, or staff (physically, emotionally, socially), and the incident is so severe the student is sent directly to a Program Coordinator.
- The Coordinator works with the student regarding the matter
- Parents are automatically involved at this stage
- A decision will be made upon the individual circumstances of the situation. Based upon the severity this could result in an in-school suspension, out of school suspension or expulsion from the school site.
- The resolution will be clearly documented and shared with the student’s Team staff.
- The Program Coordinators will determine further action, as per policy regarding in- school suspension, external suspension or expulsion.
Special Steps in the Situation of Discrimination
Providing acceptance and celebrating the differences of others is a developing skill, and as empathetic as our students can be coming from difficult situations where they felt set apart from others due to their challenges we approach any issues concerning any form of discrimination seriously.
Discrimination may include:
- Personal attacks on gender, sexual orientation, race, culture or religious beliefs.
- Any defamatory or undesirable comments or suggestions about race, gender, sexual orientation, culture or religious beliefs.
- Willful and open intolerance of any other person or group based upon race, gender, culture or religious belief.
Should an event arise where a student is perceived as discriminating or antagonizing others based on their gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs or ethnicity, whether directly or indirectly containing the use of inappropriate imagery, accusation, premeditated conflict or ostracism, the following steps will follow:
- The event is immediately reported to administration for an escalated follow up with the students involved.
- Separate interviews are conducted with the victim and students who created the event. Students involved are removed from the classroom. The safety of the persons impacted are confirmed and families are notified. Some additional supports may be provided determined by the feedback from the student.
- Families of those involved are contacted and arrangements are made to meet with on the same day or the morning of the day following. The student is informed that they will not be returned to class until there is a resolution to the issue.
- The family and administration meet, a recount of the events that had occurred with the perspectives from the student, victim and staff are provided and a consequence and additional learning are recommended from the school.
- The student’s return is based on the completion of these conditions. Additional follow up at a later date with the family and the student is set.
- The students oppressed and family of the victim is informed of the outcome. A date is set for a follow-up conversation.