PMP:012 Disciplining with Dignity

If you view school discipline simply as punishment, you’ll be limited in your effectiveness.
If you view it as a way to measure and redirect student behavior, then you may experience more meaningful results.
How do you treat others with dignity even when handing out discipline? Listen to Episode 12 to find out!

Here are the show notes for this episode:

8 Tips for Disciplining with Dignity
1. Set high expectations
We set expectations for entering freshmen through orientations, student presentations, and handbook discussions by meeting in classroom settings. Be a specific and clear about what’s expectations.
2. Let the consequences fit the infraction.
Decide ahead of time what consequences are appropriate for behaviors as small as tardies to as big as under-influence. As severity of infractions increase, consequences should increase. If your students feel unsafe, your school cannot run effectively.
3. Be consistent.
Assign discipline infractions as consistently as possible. Yes, creativity is allowed to individual for students, but when common infractions match common consequences students feel treated with firmness and fairness.
4. Use creativity when necessary.
Being consistent does not always mean the exact same discipline. If students don’t have the same resources as others (no one who can pick them up from school for detention), create other options that match the infraction. Lunch-duty may be just as effective as detention, for instance.
5. Be polite.
Even when a student is in trouble, greet them with dignity. Handing out consequences with a calm, measured tone.
6. Be specific and document.
Have students put serious infractions in writing,. Assume if it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen, so take good notes, have parents sigh when students receive serious consequences, and follow documentation for due process.
7. Serve and Teach.
Student discipline is a key time to coach students on self-improvement or to guide and support parents in partnering with them in raising their children.
8. Communicate Trust.
Be honest with students when they’ve broken trust and assure them that they can rebuild trust over time. When students know you still like them even in discipline, they are more likely to show improvement and work with you instead of against you.


Like a good classroom teacher, your discipline affects the rapport and relationship you have with students so that they have a school environment where they can learn and grow. It’s the job of the school leader to model behaviors you want to see in students.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are some other ways you’ve learned to discipline with dignity? Share with the rest of us.

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Principal Matters (Final) 3D
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William D. Parker
William D. Parker