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School Violence: Are Students Disrespectful?

March 5th, 2012 · No Comments

I read a sad commentary about the condition of students in my hometown, Milwaukee, Wisconsin (

As I read these comments, I wondered about the level of training needed to charge students with a “lack of home training” and “lack of respect”. While there is no question that the behavior exhibited by many students is a far cry from being exemplary, it is critical to understand that how they “show up” in this world is the direct result of what they are taught. Parents, teachers, ministers, and neighbors all have the responsibility of providing opportunities for young people to develop into responsible individuals. Through modeling, resource sharing, discipline, and support, we can help students make good decisions about their academics and their behavior.

While Mr. Causey may think so, never should a child have to earn the respect that is owed to them! It is this misdirection of adulthood that is the problem (where adults try to GET from children instead of being available to GIVE to students). As parents, teachers, and leaders, we take children under our charge and we preach instead of teach. We yell instead of discuss. We neglect instead of nurture. The bottom line, when students misbehave, it is a direct indication that the entire community has failed to model, has failed to provide discipline, support and structure, and has failed to give respect.

As a licensed and experienced teacher/school principal, I did not have the student problems showcased by this video (referenced in article). Yes, I had the same students. And, yes, those students had a track record of being disorderly in other learning environments (before coming into my classroom or school). But, from the door, I made my expectations for greatness clear and then I supported these expectations with a system of structure, discipline, academic rigor, and LOVE. People always wanted to know why students in my care looked differently than they did when they were elsewhere. This difference was because I took responsibility for being the adult in charge… not as a tyrant but as person who could see a teen’s potential, who loved the challenge of working with them, and who took seriously the training I received for child psychology and human development!

Please do not blame children for acting in ways that have only been promoted by the adults around them. Please be willing to give them respect even when it looks as though they do not deserve it. Please be willing to model what you expect from students by spending quality time with them. I promise…when you are able to teach and lead… students will follow!

For more information on how to manage student behaviors…
1) Pick up your copy of “Empowerment Starts Here: Seven Principles for Empowering Urban Youth”:
2) Read about our P3 Advisory program:



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