Discipline is an indispensable requisite that offers a firm framework that aids in a better development of the learning communities. Discipline is classified as a policy, and implemented in all schools, in the achievement and satisfaction of motley needs of both normal and the distinctive students, and the panoramas of the local community that comprises of service providers, families and the wider community. In relation to this, Sarno (2007) affirms that discipline is fundamental training that is expected to produce a delimitate pattern of behavior, which amounts to moral or mental improvement, reflection of responsibility and manifestation of integrity among the students, both in elementary and high schools.
Discipline among the peculiar students has been remarkably pitiable based on a plethora of facets that include; poor management, poor performance in class work and weird behavior, which corresponds to Walters and Frei (2007) affirmation that children with exceptional needs always have behavioral issues especially when they are frustrated and confused. Similarly, learning difficulties, anxiety and sensory integration attributed to Tourette syndrome may also be a contributing factor to indiscipline. Poor performance in class work and the handling of the assignment can be imputed to mental incapability- poor or lack of organization skills, insufficient memorization and learning disablement-of the peculiar students. In addition to this, lack of least restrictive environment may also lead to forms of indiscipline due to frustration and may hinder maximum reception of instructions similar to
Walters and Frei (2007) stances on issuance of quality instruction on less restrictive environment. Court cases, for instance S-1 v Turlington, 1981 also held that children with orthopedic distress were likely indulging in indiscipline, through fights to contend with stress (Jaeger & Bowman, 2002).
In line with this, administrators and teachers have been experiencing a lot of problems, especially administrators in high schools, when it comes to handling students with special needs. This is clearly evinced when choosing the appropriate punishment for the mistake committed. Special need students in high school are believed to be endowed with quality training and guidance on behavior control and understanding; thence it becomes mandatory to inflict strict disciplinary actions on them, compared to students in elementary schools.
Further, according to Osborne and Russo (2009) process protection and Individuals with Disabilities Education act (IDEA) limit the nature and the amount of disciplinary procedures used by officials. This is due to the presence of IDEA’s safeguards that protect the students with exceptional needs from severe or harsh punishment. In tandem to this, the administrators also have difficulties in resolving to whether the mistake done is either due to manifestation of the disability or lack of knowledge, thence it amounts to the use of minor disciplinary procedures such as detention and time out (Osborne & Russo, 2009). Moreover, the state of disability counts significantly, in agreement with Osborne and Russo (2009) assertion based on the state that allows punishment on students with disabilities and extent of the sanctions that permit a similar set of punishments to both normal and disabled students.
Conventionally, disciplinary actions and decisions vary vastly between regular and exceptional need students. Primarily, the difference in characteristics between the two sets of students creates the variance in disciplinal methods. The teachers are also made to understand and know the students with disabilities, thence setting up different disciplinary standards that may include disciplinary exclusion for the school for ten days. This is also affirmed by Goss' v Lopez 1975 court case, to allow a cross-examination of witness, chances for a formal hearing and a better counsel (Savage & Savage, 2010). The standard disciplinary action is also in accordance to Savage and Savage (2010) avowal on the disciplinary policy and the parameters needed to make content, disciplinary decisions.
In light with this, students with exceptional needs exhibit difficulties in understanding the discrepancy between the varied forms of disciplinary actions. However, with the introduction of Individualized Education Program (IEP), determination of the understating of disciplinary action by students with special needs has been quite easy. This is clearly depicted by considerable versatile aspects, which include; the retention of understanding the consequences of behavior and the ability to control behavior, which is not lost through disability, which is in line with Jaeger and Bowman (2002) ideology on retention of understanding and control of behavior among people with disabilities. This is also corroborated in School Board of Prince William County v. Malone case with asserts that manifestation decisions are to be done in accordance to a given accord but not majority rule (Jaeger & Bowman, 2002). Similarly, correct and appropriate placement of the student’s IEP also aid in knowing whether the student is in a position of understanding the disciplinary decision or the misbehavior is a manifestation of the disability.
On the other hand, parents who have attended IEP meetings and are conversant with the IEP details, are likely to understand the nature of disciplinary actions imposed upon their children. The disciplinary actions become elaborate especially for parents with children in high levels of education. However, parents with children in elementary school may have difficulties in understanding the disciplinary actions ascribed to many facets, which according to Walters and Frei (2007) may include; the beliefs the parents have about their children being unique and always right, and the perception they have concerned with the best interest of the child. Further, the reactions of the parents vary in relation with the nature of the disciplinary action. Vast and intimidating punishments, for instance expulsion, may lead to bizarre reactions on parents with disabled children, both in elementary and high schools. This may be due to the emotional distress the parents contain concerning their disabled children. In addition to this, severe disciplinary actions may not be received well, since the parents spend a lot in facilitating the education for the special children. Further, the primary concern of the parent also matters a lot. Walters and Frei (2007) report that parents whose primary concern is the child behavior, have a better understanding and reasonable reactions on issues pertaining to disciplinary actions, where as parents whose primary concern is education, have a low understanding and display eccentric reactions.
The district plays a core a role in the determination of key disciplinary actions in schools. They determine the level and the nature of disciplinary action to be taken on students with exceptional needs (Osborne & Russo, 2009). Similarly, IDEA has a plethora of requirements which enable quality learning of the special students, and they include; allowing officials to report crimes committed by special education students, furnish the students’ special education, and administer disciplinary records to the appropriate authority (Osborne & Russo, 2009). Further, appropriate knowledge and skills in IDEA are offered by coordinators and the key organizers or members of special education.
In a nutshell, disciplinary process in both elementary and high school, involves a lot of legal procedure, understanding and people. Similarly, it is quite arduous to determine the right disciplinary action for the special students, since the school officials, the districts and facets like IDEA and IEP must be taken into consideration for quality disciplinary actions. Further, the parents of the special students should attend meetings for IEP, in order to have substantial training and adequate information that will enable them understand their students and the disciplinary actions bestowed on them. It is also all notable for the student to understand the discipline action so as to help modify and improve their behavior.
Jaeger, T. P. & Bowman, A.C. (2002). Disability Matters: Legal and Pedagogical Issues of Disability in Education. Charlotte, NC: Information Age Publishing, Inc.
Osborne, G. A. & Russo, J. C. (2009). Discipline in Special Education. California, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Sarno, S. P. (2007). Go to the Principal's Office. Bloomington, IN: Author House.
Savage, V. T. & Savage, K. M. (2010). Successful Classroom Management and Discipline: Teaching Self-Control and Responsibility (3rd Ed.). California, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.
Walters, J. & Frei, S. (2007). Managing Classroom Behavior and Discipline. Huntington Beach, CA: Shell Education.