A new approach to education and school discipline is being tried in Cheektowaga district near Buffalo, New York this year. It is being carefully watched by districts across the country, for if it is successful, many other districts may attempt to implement similar strategies.
This new approach was developed by the new principal, Brian Bridges. And, it is quite strict—far stricter than any most schools have ever seen. Many are calling it a “tough love” type of method. Basically, the way it works is rather simple. Students who do not follow certain criteria are not allowed to participate in any after-school activities, including sports, dances, and plays. That is the main tenet of the policy, but there are other rules as well.
The rules aren’t complicated all that complicated. Students must remember to wear their identification cards each day; if they forget, they will have an automatic detention. Students without identification cards are served lunch last. All students, though, are assigned seats in the cafeteria and must wait for a teacher to call them to be served.
But, the biggest—and most widely-scrutinized—rule in this New York district involves the classroom grades that a student earns. Any student whose grade in any class falls below a 65 is banned from all extra-curricular activities. This exclusion is in effect until that grade rises above 65. Or, the student become eligible for the activities again if his teacher indicates that he has demonstrated improvement on the weekly progress report that must be filled out.
Some parents have criticized this program as being too harsh, but many parents have been supportive. A lot of parents have remarked that their children are studying more and taking more responsibility for their actions because they know they will be held accountable at school.
Regardless of the outcome of this year’s program, it is certain to be watched by districts all over the country.