Where's the Line on School Discipline?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

beer pong drinking party

A New Jersey court has ruled that a high school went too far in disciplining students for out-of-school law-breaking. But it also created an exception for cases in which a student is put in harm's way, which has implications for New Jersey's anti-bullying legislation. Nancy Solomon, managing editor at New Jersey Public Radio, discusses the ruling.

What do you think? Can a school punish a student for behavior outside of school? What's the role of parents, law enforcement, and others? Where do you draw the line? Let us know!


Nancy Solomon

Comments [11]

Charlie Roemer from Howard Beach

The entire discussion is founded on a controversial and unproven assumption, namely that punishments work. I'd like to hear a discussion on the broader issue of whether punishments might do more harm than good.

Jul. 26 2012 11:04 AM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

I think there should be a separation of school and personal lives unless they impact one another. Now tell me, in what way do they NOT impact one another? Students need to be at their healthiest, with enough sleep and exercise, in order to perform well in academic and athletic pursuits. In addition, students who have been arrested over the weekend for illegal activities have difficulty getting to class on time. And it's difficult to get one's homework done when one is busy drinking and recovering from a hangover. And there are lessons in social responsibility that schools should be reinforcing. Better than punishment is education, but if education is lacking, punishment should fit the crime.

Jul. 26 2012 10:55 AM
David from Queens Village

I grew up in Switzerland, where the legal age to go to bars and drink beer is 16. Most of my fellow-students did this, and thrived in both school-life, and in professional life. After rugby games those who wanted to, could go for a pint with the opposing team, or celebrate with their own team if they so chose. At our graduation ball, we drank and reminisced with our favorite teachers.

The drinking age in the US is a random number, and seems both puritanical and babying of young people, who are far more sophisticated than American society gives young people credit. It leads to unsupervised drinking, and even more problems.

New studies are debunking old myths that exaggerated the detrimental effects of alcohol on development.

Jul. 26 2012 10:55 AM
Daniel from NYC

If the parents want their kids to get into a good college, why are they letting their kids partake in underage drinking? That's the most confusing thing for me.

Jul. 26 2012 10:50 AM
ericjhenderson from brooklyn

It is interesting to note the myriad ways that schools will stress an integral approach as creating the best environment for learning. I imagine, in this case, that a coach should legally reply "no comment" or "do whatever outside of these hours" if a sports player asks him if it matters that he/she personally use alcohol as a minor.

This means that values are a part of the deal. Why should a school have an opinion on parent involvement, for example ...unless the only responsibility it perceives is the student's being in school as a magic daily vacuum that isolates the time spent in class. The balance is that I'd want the school to focus on 3rs teaching, not concentrating on a moral curriculum as many do now. I'm just talking the values implicit in and that follow immediately from creating the best environment for those 3rs.

Alcohol and high school athletics would seem to be a performance no-brainer, but I'm not going into the detail on this one. Just saying that it's gonna be a goofy road if a school tries to become a values-free education zone ...pretty much because imposing even a minimal behavior code or value system that happens to reach outside of class hours is impossible.

Jul. 26 2012 10:46 AM
BK from NJ

I am not sure that a school reaching out into the activities in people's homes on the weekends is correct. There should be a line between school and personal lives.

Jul. 26 2012 10:45 AM

Well see this is the problem... if I got into trouble outside of school (forget even getting arrested) - my PARENTS would ban me from playing sports!!!! I can remember I was taken off a team by may parents and the coach begged them - to no avail. I had to wait until next year. That's the problem... the schools have to play "clean up" after the parents.

Jul. 26 2012 10:44 AM
Jeff Pappas from Dumbo

No wonder, I mean look at professional sports; Why does our Congress have to be involved in Steriod use etc, they are not even illegal to us citizens.
So why meddle at all on any level

Jul. 26 2012 10:44 AM

jgarbuz - that is just plainly not true. Education is job 1. why make up such a patently false statement?

Jul. 26 2012 10:38 AM
Dan from Herald Square

Why does is conversation tend to focus on sports teams? What about students involved in school bands or theater programs? Moreover, wouldnt removing a student from an after-school activity place them in greater danger of these types of behavior?

Jul. 26 2012 10:37 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The primary purpose of K-12 "education" is to keep kids off the streets, our of trouble, and allow their parents to go to work. If those kids get some "education" out of it, that is a big plus. But the primary purpose remains to keep kids safe and out of the way of trouble, or making it. If schools or teachers can't discipline, that purpose cannot be obtained.

Jul. 26 2012 10:34 AM

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