High school students cutting class
Please describe the behavior:
How old is the student?
High School, multiple students
Where and when does the behavior occur?
Spikes in morning and around lunch time but can occur any time during the day
Frequency and duration of behavior?
You probably already have many logical consequences in place, like detention and suspension for being caught cutting classes. The main emphasis of logical consequences for cutting class/lunch should be on students having to spend more or additional time in school if caught cutting. suspending a student will give the student the desired outcome, which is being in school less. This is a bad logical consequence. the penalty for cutting should be detentions after and before school, community service, cleaning rooms before and after school, doing homework/studying in detention before and after school, etc.
Seeing that cutting is a big issue, the school will need to put more effort into interventions to address it. A logical consequence that would require more effort on the staff's part would be students losing trust and freedom. This could be achieved by creating a check in/out system whereby students caught cutting class would be put on the check in/out system, having to sign a check in and check out sheet for each class. In addition, they may have to be escorted after the bell to classes. Students could be put on the system for one offense or after several. They would have to remain on the system for a certain period of time and be successful on it before regaining trust and being taken off.
If mornings are bad for cutting, perhaps a system could be set up where students caught cutting 1st hour or not coming to 1st hour would be required to check-in in the office in the morning otherwise their parent is called. If they continued to cut 1st hour, they would be required to be escorted to their 1st hour by their parent or guardian. If they continued to cut first hour and the parent did not follow through, then for every 1st hour they missed, they would have to stay after school to make up that hour, doing homework for an hour in a detention.
Something similar could be done for lunch time as well, if that is a time when cutting spikes. Students caught cutting lunch would be required to sign in at lunch time and sign out. Their parent would be called if they did not sign in at lunch. If they continued to skip lunch, parent would have to escort them to lunch. If that failed, they would have to make the time up either before or after school in study/homework detention.
Another logical consequence could be set up with local police authorities. Coordinating with the local police, you could have them keeping a keen eye out for class cutters and collect names of any students they found cutting. These names would be sent to the school admin thru email or something easy. These students would get detentions and be put on the sign in/out system and have parents notified. If possible, getting the local court or a willing judge to participate could be helpful to instill some fear and seriousness. A judge or court authority could perhaps drop by the school once a month to speak with the students caught cutting, assigning them community service and requiring them to give proof it was served. Or the judge or court authority could come in once a month to speak to the cutting students, requiring them to show proof they attended school detentions. If they did not, then perhaps the judge/authority would assign community service or something else. If a judge or court authority were involved in this manner and assigned community service, I would suggest that they assign it on Saturday mornings. I think students would hate this the most and want to avoid this the most.
Saturday school is another idea for class cutters. If caught, they are assigned a 3 hour saturday school detention. They bring work and have to work Saturday morning in school. Students would get one Saturday school detention for every cutting offense. If they got caught cutting 3 times in one week, then they would receive Saturday Detentions for the next 3 Saturdays. Parents would be notified and be required to escort the student into the school on those Saturdays and sign them in, then pick them up and sign them out. If you got a judge or court authority involved, they could also assign Saturday Detentions and send some formal looking letter to parents to put fear in everyone.
If you have a school/police liaison, you could keep a record of students that seem to be cutting more frequently and that liaison would do home visits to speak to the student and parent. If you were to do any of the ideas above, they could reinforce that as well.
It can be helpful to have class content that is more important and essential presented during times when cutting seems to spike. For example, if students seem to be cutting the first half of a class, then having teachers present material that students need to know for tests, quizzes, and finals can be a good motivator to show up. If that material were only presented at those times, students may be more likely to attend in order to get the material. The material could be in the form of worksheets, lecture, review sheets, etc. Additionally, frequent quizzes and/or extra credit could be given at these times as well. the natural consequence of skipping at these times would be bad grades, being unprepared, etc.
Based on attendance records, you could implement a system of rewards or incentives. For example, in the morning, students with good attendance would get to bring in food to first hour to eat or get to chew gum, etc (not provided by the school, but stuff they bringing from home). Teachers could easily look at attendance to see who should and should not be receiving the incentive. Another good first hour incentive would be students with good attendance could listen to their ipods while working or they could receive the last 5 minutes of class to talk to a friend or do something fun, like go on the computer or use a laptop they bring.
At lunch, students with good attendance could have access to a special food concession counter where there are highly desirable snacks and items. You might have to do a survey to see what the students consider highly desirable or very special. Students who had been cutting would not get to use this concession and would be required to have one month of good attendance before being able to do so.
Also at lunch, students with good attendance could be automatically entered into a daily raffle for a free lunch or free candy bar, etc. If students were caught cutting, they would not be entered into the raffle for 2 weeks or something.
A similar incentive system could be used for 1st hour. Additionally, other incentives could include a special announcement, activity, etc at the times when cutting spikes. For example, in 1st hour, if cutting spiked, there could be a daily "silly" discussion time that would last 5 minutes or so but be randomly held during 1st hour some time. each day, there would be an announcement over the PA from the office saying what the topic of the "silly" discussion would be. The teacher of each class would then stop and have this discussion with the class. The "silly" part would mean that it is a funny, odd, ridiculous, etc, topic, like who would win in a fight, a gorilla or a tiger? or what would Snooki be doing if she wasn't famous? or If you had "the force" from Star Wars, what would you use it for today at lunch? It would be something that would get kids talking. Those kids that skip could be incentivzed to attend because they get a kick out of what they hear.