Our discipline practices are consistent with Palo Alto Unified School District policy in that our goals are: “To maintain order and decorum, educate our youth to observe accepted rules of conduct, and to develop self-discipline while simultaneously protecting the rights of others.”
Ideally, positive reinforcement is so effective that little or no other action is necessary. At Nixon we have a proactive rather than reactive approach to discipline. Our Lifeskills program and conflict resolution training are intended to model, teach and encourage the behaviors that we want to see in our students. Within classrooms, rules reflect the need to have children learn without disruption and to promote mutual support.
There are a few situations in which the usual regimen is inappropriate. When this occurs, principal, teacher and parent work together to provide support for a child in order to ensure behavior appropriate for learning. In these instances process and consequences are consistent with the PAUSD discipline plan.
In certain circumstances, a child may be suspended (in or out of school) from school, depending on the seriousness of the infraction. A suspension is defined as the removal of a student from ongoing instruction for disciplinary purposes. The principal will confer with parents or guardians concerning a student’s suspension. Expulsion, if indicated, is determined exclusively by the Palo Alto Unified School District and not by the Nixon principal. For a more complete description of the grounds for suspension, click here: https://www.pausd.org/policies#/search/result/1138
Playground Behavior and Discipline
Our behavior expectations do not change on the playground, but the situation is less structured. In many ways it is the real test of what students have learned about how to behave at school. Teachers and yard supervisors encourage personal responsibility and the use of conflict resolution skills by the children.
On the playground, students are expected to share the equipment that is available. In order to create the circumstances in which students need to negotiate and compromise in their play, we don’t want students to bring their own play equipment to school. We have a policy of including everyone in games; there are no closed games in which students get to tell some children that they may not play. Beginning in kindergarten, students are taught techniques for entering a game, observing how it is being played and asking about the rules.
When there is a problem, our first strategy is listen and understand, encourage students to talk to each other and help students to take responsibility for their own behavior. In many cases the situation can be resolved through discussion. When consequences for inappropriate behavior are needed, these can include having the student sit down for a period of time, clean up the lunch area or lose their opportunity to play (when a student hits another child). When needed, yard duty supervisors use “warning slips” to communicate behavior issues to the child’s teacher.
Depending on the particular problem and the student’s general behavior pattern at school, the teacher will work with the student on strategies to avoid repetition of the problem. The teacher may choose to involve the parent to help. Repeated problems on the playground will certainly result in both parent and principal involvement.
Teachers and other staff members earnestly seek to work with parents to encourage good behavior and to solve behavior problems. We know that when teachers and parents work together and children hear a consistent message at home and at school, appropriate behavior is likely to result.
In cases involving serious injury or mistreatment of a student, our school and district bullying procedures will be implemented to resolve the situation. To read our school district policy on bullying and bullying prevention, please click on this link: https://www.pausd.org/policies#/search/result/2369
Sexual Harassment Policy
It is the policy of the Palo Alto Unified School District to provide a school environment free from all forms of harassment, including sexual harassment, and to maintain an environment in which all students and adults model this behavior and are treated with dignity and respect. Therefore, no student shall be subjected to sexual overtures or conduct, either verbal, visual, or physical, which is intimidating, hostile, offensive, or unwelcome. Such conduct by adults or students is deemed unacceptable behavior and will not be tolerated by the school district. Please make your child’s teacher and the school principal aware of any circumstances that you feel might be in the category of sexual harassment. To read our district’s sexual harassment policy, click on this link: https://www.pausd.org/policies#/search/result/1144