Opinion: The administration needs to adjust its school rules to address student transgressions with appropriate measures.
As an educational institution, Diamond Bar High School is well-founded in establishing rules to maintain a suitable environment for its students. However, the school’s approach to corrective action must be changed to reflect the severity and intent of students’ misdemeanors.
Currently, DBHS is transitioning to a “Progressive Discipline Policy,” which entails Saturday Work Adjustment Programs for one hour on Saturday mornings. This, in itself, is an admirable action; the school is moving away from direct punishments to discourage wrongdoing.
However, the implementation and use of SWAPs are cause for great concern, as it betrays a troubling failure to accurately address the needs of a modern educational environment.
Right now, a SWAP is issued as a blanket punishment by teachers and administrators alike. Any offense, whether it be simply wearing a hood or using a mobile device during class without permission, is met with a SWAP. The school hails the SWAP as their end-all-be-all solution—a universally simple Band-aid—when disciplinary action should be much more nuanced.
This approach is far from adequate; A student wearing a hood may have accidentally forgotten school policy. Take a chilly day for example: students may unconsciously pull up their hoods to conserve body heat. In contrast, browsing a phone during class is not only a direct show of disrespect to the teacher, but a possible breach of academic integrity.
In our digitized educational world, the wealth of information that can be obtained from a mobile device presents many possibilities, all of which are not conducive to a learning environment. In fact, these two infractions are not remotely similar in terms of magnitude. Simply put, the punishment does not fit the crime.
However, it is refreshing to see the school’s implementation of SWAPs. The days of detentions and referrals are an outdated system that blinds itself from the needs of the modern educational system by prioritizing punishment over positive reinforcement. But all the same, student misdemeanors of a smaller magnitude do not necessitate its use.
After all, SWAPs carve out precious hours from a student’s weekend, creating another unnecessary obstacle for students who could be using their time toward weekend assignments, getting involved with extracurriculars or practicing self-care. Instead, these lesser ‘crimes,’ such as wearing a hood outside, should be resolved with a simple verbal warning or a recorded infraction to keep track of repeat offenders.
DBHS needs to become cognizant of the decisions and challenges that students face every day. In reality, unnecessarily harsh punishments compound the daily stresses of students. That is not education—it is the antithesis.