These actions can range from minor to very harsh. Schools that are traditional may focus on punishment. More progressive schools may take a different approach.
Some types of discipline — like restraint and seclusion — are very controversial. These practices are legal in some states.
Here’s a list of disciplinary actions you may hear about:
- Parent contact: Calling a child’s parents or sending a note home
- Conference: Having the child meet with a principal or teacher, sometimes joined by parents or caregivers
- Schoolwork: Requiring the child to do schoolwork, like writing the same sentence over and over on the chalkboard
- Counseling: Pairing the child with a professional to talk about the misbehavior
- Detention: Placing a child in a supervised area during or after school
- Suspension: Sending a child home from school for one or more days
- Expulsion: Removing a child from school permanently
- Restraint: Preventing a child from moving, either physically or with a mechanical device
- Seclusion: Placing a child alone in a locked room or separate area of the school and not letting the child leave
- Restorative justice: Having a child make amends through an apology, peer mediation, or other action
If the school decides to take disciplinary action that you disagree with, there are steps you can take. First, you can go to the superintendent or school board and appeal it. You can also talk to a lawyer or advocate.