It is not uncommon for some students to resist some of the rules in high school. So, why should MV be any different? In most school settings, generally speaking, there are students that behave, and students that don’t. This is unfortunately the expected reality. When a student misbehaves, no one is really surprised – it happens. No one obviously wants students to act up, but when it happens many just accept it and move on.
Of course, MV has tried to do the best job we can to prevent misbehavior by offering punishment in exchange. This, obviously is not a new concept. This is the process of life – if one misbehaves, one gets in trouble. We see this enforced at MV in the Attendance Office. In case anyone was unaware, this is the administrative office in charge of discipline. They offer outcomes to breaking the rules, including in school suspensions, out of school suspensions, lunch detention, etc.
For most schools, and even MV in the past, the process is routine in terms of discipline. But what many do not realize is that whenever the discipline process is going “smoothly,” nothing is actually being done about it. In the past, MV has unfortunately subscribed to this way of thinking: The thinking that some students are bad, and some are good, and nothing can really be done about it. We will just punish the students that misbehave, tell them not to do it again, and wait patiently for them to do it again anyway.
Thankfully, this has changed. Mr. Michael Koehnke is in his first year as Assistant Principal in the Attendance Office and MV’s main disciplinary officer. Since his arrival this year, many students and staff members have seen a shift.
Mr. Koehnke actually cares about students. Many can find him at lunch chatting with those who dine in Mama Nadine’s Cafe, or hanging out with students in the hallway.
This is why the environment is improving here at MV. Many students who typically “misbehave” are moving away from acting out because they realize that someone actually cares. There is a human side of discipline that many have not seen before; a much more effective parental approach. Perhaps acts of kindness are much more important than harsh discipline.
According to the Attendance office, compared to last year, incidents are down by 122 through first semester. This is not a coincidence; this is due to care. When students are asked questions like: “How are you doing?” and “Is there anything I can do to help?” or “Let’s talk about it,” they feel as if they really matter. In exchange for this, behavior and attitude improves.