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Psychiatrist suggest administrators address students underlying perceptions in discipline

The phenomenon called the school-to-prison pipeline where a large number of students fall into the clutches of criminal justice system owes to a trivial breach of rules resulting from "zero-tolerance" discipline policy.Focusing on reducing this phenomenon, the introduction of student behavioral therapy is being considered.The lack of analysis of the underlying behavior of students is the main cause of this phenomenon which has resulted in increasing the drop-out rates and relapsing of the similar behavioral patterns.

A common method used for dealing with this situation is restorative justice where the students fix the issue through normal communication.This prevents the case from being transferred to the resource officers for settlement.Though this has reduced the suspension and expulsion to some extent, significant and long-lasting benefits are least apparent.

The judicial system has also tried to end this by restricting the purposes when the students should be referred to the Court, as in case of the Judge Sharon Sigalas of Jackson County Youth Court in Mississippiwhere they are advised to deal with the minor breach in rules and regulations like that of dress code, on their own. Psychologist Alex Fertig of Parsippany Troy Hills School District (NJ) and psychiatrist Ray W. Christner of Cognitive Health Solutions have found out that the school administrators can use cognitive behavioral therapy to exercise the discipline more effectively.

While communicating with District administration, Fertig and Christner emphasizes on the fact that the situations where the students leave the principal's office being more upset than when they had arrived, can be prevented by comprehending their situation, thoughts, physiology, and actions that have a direct influence on the way they respond to a situation.By analyzing their perception, their responses can be directed in the proper way.

It is not possible on the part of the school principals to behave exactly like a psychologist, but they can concentrate on reinforcing the positive behavior of students by making them recall the previous interaction with them to pacify them.Fertig and Christner say that such practices show best results when administered along with school psychologists and counselors.

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