Disciplining students is never an easy thing to do. When you hear of a student being disciplined in school or on the bus, what picture comes to your mind? The Encarta Dictionary defines discipline as punishment, “designed to teach somebody obedience” or training, “the practice or methods of teaching … acceptable patterns of behavior.”
Bus drivers often struggle to create and carry out a plan of discipline that works consistently. Writing bus rider discipline referrals for students who break the rules on the bus seems to be one of the more common forms of discipline that drivers utilize. What if there was a way to train the students to behave, gaining control and the respect of the students on a bus, without punishing them by “writing them up”?
In this article, I will discuss a program that can help drivers accomplish this.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Support
In their book Responding to Problem Behavior in Schools: The Behavior Education Program, authors Deanne Crone, Leanne Hawken and Robert Horner write, “Students today present with diverse needs and present educators with a unique set of challenges (e.g., English as second language, difficulties associated with low socioeconomic status, significant learning and behavioral needs). To be effective in supporting all students, schools need to implement a continuum of positive behavior support.”
A program has been implemented across the U.S. called Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS).
Julius West Middle School in Rockville, Md., implemented a PBIS program three years ago, and through the program, the school has been able to provide students with positive incentives to meet and exceed behavioral expectations in the classroom, cafeteria and hallways.
In an article titled “Positive Behavior Support” in the Teaching Exceptional Children journal, Kelly L. Morrissey, Hank Bohanon and Pamela Penning say, “Teaching and acknowledging appropriate behaviors on a prevention-oriented basis, rather than reacting through suspension once a problem occurs, may be the first step in turning the tide toward safer schools designed for keeping students in school and experiencing success.”
The PBIS program is flexible, in that it can be designed for high-risk individuals, at-risk small groups and the general student populations at schools.