Superheros, Superegos, and Student Discipline


As a school administrator for “at risk” students in an alternative high school, I’ve experienced similar emotions and attitudes. I have reached some of the same conclusions and made similar decisions. There really is no better social skills curriculum or character education unit that does better than point to modelled behavior and personal stories where ego was held in check. I can discipline a student without yelling and without intimidation.

molehills out of mountains

Superheroes crossing cc flickr photo by brettjordan

How we treat our best students shows our aspirations; how we treat our most challenging students shows our values.  ~ Mendler and Curwin

This past Friday, an incident occurred at school that had me seeing red.  While supervising in the cafeteria during the lunch period, I was asked by our one of our cafeteria staff members to address a group of boys who had been leaving trash on their table, and arguing with one of our lunchroom monitors when asked to clean up the mess.

When I caught up with the boys, near the center of campus, they immediately began to provide a litany of excuses, and one particular student began to argue that he had done nothing wrong.  I asked the boys to go into the administrative building where we could speak privately.  This is where things began to go wrong.  One of the…

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