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How enforcing school rules makes a BIG difference

Date: October 30th, 2014
By: Polly Bath

Watch this video [2:07] about how school staff can influence the whole climate of their school by consistently enforcing the rules together.

Polly: In the building, whose job is it to enforce the rules? Everybody’s. It is everybody’s job. For example, if a child walks by you wearing a hat, and that is against the rules, our job is to simply say, “Hey, take your hat off. You know the rule.” Then, keep on walking.

Now, we all know what that child is going to do as soon as he gets past you. He is going to put his hat right back on. But if every teacher tells the child to take his hat off, then after hearing that over and over again for a couple weeks, he’s going to take his hat off. It will become an automatic response.

The problem is when one of us gets tired of enforcing the rules, because we don’t think they are necessary. We say, “You know what, I’ve got more fish to fry than a kid with their hat on.”

It ends up resulting in behaviors that are escalated, because we haven’t been consistent with the little stuff. When a teacher sees the child wearing the hat but doesn’t acknowledge it, that becomes the hole in the system.

That’s how we end up with bigger behaviors than we actually need. That Tier 1 system has to be consistent and we’ve all got to own it. It has to be the way we do business. When kids know that and expect it, then they are less likely to up the ante.