Does your school have any problems with discipline? What happens when students step out of line?

Is discipline a problem in your school? What do teachers do when pupils behave badly in your country? A Scottish teenager had very strong opinions about discipline at her school. Read on to find out more.

What is bad behaviour?

UK schools are allowed to discipline pupils who behave badly in various ways. But what exactly is bad behaviour? The following is a list of serious and not-so-serious types of bad behaviour seen by a teacher in a London secondary school.

  • Playing truant
  • Smoking, swearing, hitting, kissing, running, stealing
  • Not doing homework
  • Cheating in exams (copying from secret notes or another pupil)
  • Calling a teacher or another pupil bad names (bullying)
  • Not listening or not paying attention in lessons
  • Wearing unsuitable clothes for school.

Punishments in UK schools

It is illegal for schools to use physical punishments like hitting a student. Here are some of the ways that UK school children can be punished.

  • Exclusion: a pupil is excluded from the school and cannot come back. The pupil has to find a new school or a different method of education (home tutor, special centre for difficult pupils).
  • Suspension: when a pupil is suspended they cannot enter the building or attend lessons until the school has a meeting about their case. Suspension can last from 1 to 45 days in a school term. The school usually gives work to do at home with a tutor (special teacher).
  • Detention: a pupil is detained. This means he or she is asked to stay at school at the end of the school day. The pupil must work for 30 minutes or an hour more before they are allowed to leave the school.
  • Lines: a pupil has to write a sentence many times (100 times) on a sheet of paper: An example sentence: I must not shout in class. This punishment is sometimes given during detention too.

Case study

Freya MacDonald, a 15-year-old pupil from Scotland, made the news in the UK when she refused to accept her school’s punishment. Freya’s family say that she was given detention many times for trivial things such as drinking fizzy drinks in class and coming into school through a fire door. After her secondary school gave her detention for the eleventh time, she went to a lawyer and took legal action against the school. The teenager said that it is not legal to keep a pupil in the school building if the student does not want to be there because Scottish law says that it is illegal to detain children against their will.

According to Scottish law every child has the right to an education. Freya says that repeated detentions disrupted her education and made it difficult for her to learn. She refused to return to school until the school respected her civil rights. She wants the headmaster and her teachers to sign a letter to promise they will respect her rights.

Hundreds of schools in Scotland were told not to use detention as a punishment because of Freya’s legal action.

Contracts

Many schools in the UK now give parents a home/school contract. This is a contract explaining the school discipline and rules. Parents must sign this document and agree that they accept the school’s rules. They are responsible for their child’s behaviour and must respect the discipline methods used in the school.

Total votes: 601

Discussion

How does your school deal with discipline problems? Have you ever been punished at school?

Comments

marblo's picture
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marblo 5 February, 2013 - 20:20

Hello I'm spanish.In my class people are rude,unpolished and shout during the classes.They also throw pens,pencils,rubbers,pencilcases and even backpacks!They don´t obey to the teachers and they don´t study or do their homework.
I've never been punished and I'm a really good student.I think parents are part of the problem,because they didn't make their sons polished,they sometimes just give them what they want, when they want;and they think their sons are the bests and do everything well.

JoEditor:AdrianMadu was joking!Our teachers don´t hang our thumbs on the roof,but some students unfortunately really deserve that punishment.

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15 users have voted.
jenniferkim's picture
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jenniferkim 25 December, 2012 - 08:24

In my country south Korea, the teachers are not allowed to hit pupils.
I think it's a really great idea for me.
I punished to stand behind the classroom for the whole class because I forgot to bring my books.
It was the most horrible day I remember in school. It's was so amberassing!!!
I don't want to think about it.

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13 users have voted.
PinkClaudia35's picture
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PinkClaudia35 10 December, 2012 - 17:04

I see that in UK the punishments are much more "normal" than in my country. I'll move in uk soon and now I'm really happy with what I found about the schools in uk. I live in Romania, our punishments are not very legal I think. If we don't pay attention in class our teacher doesn't mind at all, when there's a test or something It's your own problem when and what you learn, the teacher only gives you notes on what they teached you. If you didn't learnt properly, you won't get a good grade. If you aren't paying attention and distract other pupils too or talk, the teacher would call on you to the blackboard and give you a problem, if you don't know anything, you'll get a bad grade. Also if you do bad things( hit others with snowballs, wet with water or any other liquid another pupil, hit another pupil), the teacher will punish you in their own way. They may hit you( i don't think this is pretty normal), they may give you a bad grade, they may call your parents, you get -points(everyone has 10 points, if you lose 4 points and remain only with 6, you'll be called to the director, you may get expelled or repeat the year again). The most of the male teachers hit you, it's pretty bad because they are male and that means they are tought, you'll be hurt. There are no restrictions like kissing, swearing or bullying(only swearing, hitting is bad).

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Jerry's picture
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Jerry 3 December, 2012 - 15:40

I think that lines (to make pupils write sentences 100s of times) is ineffective and primitive to say the least. Few idiots will change after having written the sentence: "Misbehaviour is bad for you and the community." Copying without thinking is not a kind of punishment or strengthening of morals, but rather training of morons, little "soldiers", and yes-man.

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11 users have voted.
Etibar98's picture
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Etibar98 29 November, 2012 - 13:00

Azerbaijan they say us . leave the room. or yhey call our parents. Sometimes they say your take your hands to your neck.then sit and stand for 150 times

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12 users have voted.
Anahí's picture
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Anahí 28 November, 2012 - 16:57

In my school we have the same rules as in the UK, and pe seems a good way to educate students, I think that the student who did all that in the UK that school greatly exaggerated, and if you do not feel like studying so that Aque not study but do not get in trouble at school, and any parent who puts her children at a school read the rules and if you agree then consider his daughter in this school but does not like to change it, not problems institute.

Thank God I was never punished and do not want to be punished, with the education that my parents give me and I have not caused prblemas discipline in my school. I believe that good education college United Unidoy continue on with their education and their school.

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10 users have voted.
DachochoDa's picture
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DachochoDa 27 November, 2012 - 21:33

Hi...
In the text i saw spelling of Freya's surname MacDonald, i thought it's spelled McDonald. Is one of them incorrect, or are they just different surnames?

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9 users have voted.
Anahí's picture
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Anahí 27 November, 2012 - 20:40

In my school we have the same rules as in the UK, and pe seems a good way to educate students, I think that the student who did all that in the UK that school greatly exaggerated, and if you do not feel like studying so that Aque not study but do not get in trouble at school, and any parent who puts her children at a school read the rules and if you agree then consider his daughter in this school but does not like to change it, not problems institute.

Thank God I was never punished and do not want to be punished, with the education that my parents give me and I have not caused prblemas discipline in my school. I believe that good education college United Unidoy continue on with their education and their school.

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11 users have voted.
Anna_tagi's picture
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Anna_tagi 25 November, 2012 - 19:13

Hi)
That's really interesting to read about rules in schools in different countries. I live in Ukraine and our schools don't have very strict rules. However, we are not allowed to wear casual clothes(only uniform). But not all school demand wearing uniform. However,my school do this(((
We also have to follow common rules(plus not to put a lot of make up). What about punishments teachers can tell us off, call our parents but the worst is sending pupils to the "evening" schools. This schools are for children who study bad but usually they do tyhis because they work after lessons. Frankly, I cannot understand what frightening everyone finds in "evening" schools. Also teachers often just promise to send bad pupils to evening schools so that make them frightened))))

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10 users have voted.
adita's picture
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adita 25 November, 2012 - 15:47

Hi teacher, well in my course, when my classmates drop them misbehave points or take them to and Director of suspended or given a punishment. I think there should be other ways to punish them because sometimes passed from disrespectful and that is not right!

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11 users have voted.
rando's picture
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rando 25 November, 2012 - 02:54

Talking about my school,there was a time when i called my friends to do my art homework,and my teacher found out that we have the same drawing method,(don't really know how he found out though),then i was called to the discipline department,and was punished to scrap off all the dirty stuffs like paints on the walls,it was suffering!!

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15 users have voted.
micaela's picture
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micaela 23 November, 2012 - 02:11

hello teacher at my school may look the same when we went to school our parents make them sign a contract pa our education when we commit a sin punishable by days or weeks, not going to school, expelling too.
Luckily I was not up aora punished for anything :)

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12 users have voted.
Class T3 Porto's picture
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Class T3 Porto 22 November, 2012 - 20:22

I think the exclusion is extreme. I already went to the sin bin in a Portuguese class,because i was running in the classroom. i think teachers just have to send a bad ticket to the parents. In many times the direction and the teacher are unfair with the punishment. I have to do difficult things , I had to clean the kitchen of my school with my friends, because our behavior was very bad! I think we have to do funnier things that go to the sin bin or writing lines.

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12 users have voted.
JoEditor's picture
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JoEditor 23 November, 2012 - 08:03

Hi Class T3 Porto,
Wow - cleaning the kitchen of your school, that's an interesting punishment. What do you have to do when you go to 'the sin bin'?! Tell us more about this please.
Best wishes, Jo (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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10 users have voted.
cukikiu's picture
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cukikiu 22 November, 2012 - 01:15

I think nowadays one of big problem that have the schools is that can not control the evil behavior of students and because of this are given the punishments students. For this I think the schools need a change in his form of control to students and this way able to help to students in his formation academician and spiritual for be men of tomorow good for the society

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14 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 22 November, 2012 - 02:59

There are so many interesting comments here! I've learnt a lot about schools all over the world. Please keep writing and telling us about discipline in your schools, wherever you are! 

@cukikiu: I agree, it's important to help students be good people in society, not only good students. You mentioned evil behaviour - what type of things do students do?

Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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11 users have voted.
cukikiu's picture
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cukikiu 26 November, 2012 - 18:06

Well one of things that do the students with frequently is the bullying and lamentably the teachers of the schools do not nothing for stop this problems and because of this a lot of students have had fear of go to schools of new. I think that this it the big problem the to faced all of schools and a few are trying to fix it but with few results and not very effective. Also there others type of things do students like disrespect to teachers, noncompliance with school rules and among many others. For this I think the schools should change some things that could help people who are victims of these abuses

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10 users have voted.
nathalia's picture
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nathalia 19 November, 2012 - 19:24

I think the punishments or detentions are for extreme cases such as when we damage the institution or something. but not with things as simple as running because that is absurd.

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14 users have voted.
nathalia's picture
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nathalia 19 November, 2012 - 16:48

hello teacher ..... in my school my classmates were out of line but the teachers do not tell them anything because the lead directly where the father of my school and suspend them for 2 or 3 days, depending on the severity of the problem.

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13 users have voted.
BluePuppyPaper's picture
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BluePuppyPaper 11 November, 2012 - 19:09

My name is Radina and I'm from Bulgaria.I haven't been punished at school.I have exellent marks too.In my school you can be punished if you:
-are putting much makeup
-wearing unsuitable clothes for shcool
-bullying students or teacers
-and orther

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12 users have voted.
madam boss's picture
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madam boss 10 November, 2012 - 09:44

in our school u can be punished for bad behaviour,
u can be punished for being late to school.
you can be punished for putting to much make up at school,
if you have got a cellphone at school and it rings during lessons it can be taken by the teachers and they will give u at the end of term.
you can be suspended for drinking alcohol at school,
u can be beaten for not doing school work,
you can be punished for being rude or making noise in class or eating in the class

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12 users have voted.
hardmoon's picture
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hardmoon 4 November, 2012 - 09:54

in our school we haven't any detentions like in uk or other countries in our school teachers just call your family for your bad behaviour

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10 users have voted.
Queen14's picture
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Queen14 1 November, 2012 - 14:46

In my school,in small country Montenegro,there are no so strickt punishments and because of that the discipline isn't so good. I'd like to be in a good school with a good discipline 'cause I could enjoy in better learning and bigger knowledge :) !

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11 users have voted.
DreamyTopaz9's picture
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DreamyTopaz9 30 October, 2012 - 15:24

Behaviour in my class is very bad! They are rude,unkind and impolite with our teachers! Kids from my class often yalling on our teachers! Pretty compicated... :P

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9 users have voted.
terranova@'s picture
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terranova@ 25 October, 2012 - 18:48

i haven t been punished at school but in my school in Montenegro are not so bad they just tell us not to do that any more i wish that we have a little more punishments like having an extra hour or to clean the classrooms

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17 users have voted.
AdrianMadu's picture
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AdrianMadu 17 October, 2012 - 10:05

In Spain, the teachers hit our fingers with a rule and they hang our thumbs to the roof. We, the students, have to stay every days more than 2 extra hours

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