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School rule structures and change

This presentation explores how official school rules, as reflected in a large urban school district's codes of student conduct, changed over a 15 year period.

Decoteau Irby

on 3 May 2011

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Transcript of School rule structures and change

Understanding code of student conduct rule structures and changes Decoteau J. Irby, Ph.D.
Dept. of Administrative Leadership
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee The Research Study: I engage what sociologists Hirschfield and Celinska (2011) call retrospective research that employs archival methods to answer questions about the social, cultural, and organizational dynamics of schools and what led them to their current state.

The study examines "how" school rules changed over time in route to the question of “why” school rules change as they do.

Research Question: How have rules changed in the past 15 years? School Discipine Net Framework:

The concept of net-widening (Cohen, 1985) is used widely within criminology and youth justice studies (Macallair & Males, 2004). Net-widening metaphorically recognizes the phenomena of increasing the number of youths subject to official control. Wider social control nets (Cohen, 1985) result from more far-reaching efforts (rules, procedures, enforcement, and implementation) to deter and manage delinquency (Van Dusen, 1981).

I extend Cohen’s metaphor in two ways. First, I apply the net of social control concept to school discipline systems – I frame them as “school discipline nets” of social control. Net-widening of school discipline nets would result when schools expand rules, control measures, and regulation mechanisms to create the likelihood that a student is more likely to violate some aspect of the established rules even if her or his behaviors do not change. Types of Change Findings Theory Overview I documented and analyzed changes to school discipline policies as reflected in codes of student conduct over a period of 15 years. I illuminate how incremental rule modifications expanded the system of discipline in School District of Philadelphia.

I chose codes of student conduct because they provide the general policy framework and set forth guidelines for “what’s supposed to happen” in the event of a rule violation (author, 20XX). Moreover, they provide schools leaders, psychologist, SROs, and other professionals responsible for the disciplinary function of schooling with legitimacy, professional, and political credibility (Hirschfield, 2008). As archival materials, they hold insights to institutional attempts to meet the challenges of student safety and discipline.
Method Disporportionality
Zero Tolerance
School-to-Prison Pipeline
Schools can change
How and in what circumstances and contexts? Literature Collectively and in multiple different ways which apply to specific rules, the identified types of change chronicle School District of Philadelphia’s attempt to deal with a myriad of issues.

The district’s primary response was to create more rules as illustrated in the lineage table. More importantly, the findings move beyond “what” happened.

Official rule additions often reflect either the protracted growth of a problem formally recognized because of a triggering event or sudden change.

The issue of administrative turnover and challenges that new administrations face in addressing safety and discipline is for the most part unchartered territory in the literature.

Infusion rule changes tend to reflect difficulty dealing with emerging issues. An example is the infusion of rules governing the use and misuse of technology.
Discussion At a very basic level, studying school discipline policy change through the net-widening framework provides clues to “how” districts as institutions respond to social, economic, political, and organizational circumstances, events, and contexts.

Research and policy decision-making attuned to such information will be grounded in more nuanced abilities to “read” school discipline policy as an ongoing process of criminalization that begs the questions “how” and “why” be asked in addition to “what” has changed.

This sort of lens will do much to inform the field’s efforts to understand school change, and trends in discipline, in the context of district change. Implications irbyd@uwm.edu
414-229-4580 1. Official rules (what is prohibited),
2. Infractions and descriptions (specific examples of what actions violate the rule), and
3. Rankings (level of seriousness – related to how the violation will be responded to)
4. Scope of rules (when, where, to whom, and under what circumstances a rule applies)
Units of Analysis
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