Remember that shameful walk down the hallway to the principal’s office? Chances are that the next generation of misbehaving students will not meet the same fate.
A recent TikTok trend has unleashed a wave of school vandalism, with multiple states reporting students stealing their teachers’ belongings, intentionally clogging toilets and spraying red graffiti on mirrors.
The so-called “#deviouslick” challenge has since been banned by the popular social media platform. The trend sheds light on a deeper issue facing schools: the plummeting standards for student behavior and the rise of legislation banning disciplinary actions.
Instead of relying on the media to censor such trends and “parent” children, teachers must be able to set boundaries for students. Recent legislation has made that impossible.
Allowing kids to bend the rules in the classroom without consequences sets a precedent that enables young people to commit more serious offenses, such as those seen on TikTok.
The destructive behavior exhibited in these Tik Tok videos are only a tiny fragment of a nationwide issue. Bad behavior is on the rise, and teachers no longer have the ability to address it.
According to a study by EAB Global, a school management consulting agency, there has been an alarming increase in behavioral disruptions in early grades over the last three years.
The report found that “The vast majority of educators responding to the survey identified an alarming increase in behavioral disruptions in early grades over the last three years. This perception holds steady across various school and district roles. More than a third of all respondents note that behavioral disruptions have increased ‘significantly’ during this time period.”
When asked how supported teachers felt by their school in managing such behaviors, teachers gave an average rating of 5.5/10.
With a rise in rowdiness, one might assume that teachers have been sending more children to detention, or in some cases suspension. Yet it is just the opposite. Liberal politicians have set rolling back school rules high on their agendas.
Beginning last July, California teachers were banned from suspending elementary and middle school students from school for disrupting classroom activities or defying school authorities.
The law was signed by the infamous Gov. Gavin Newsom. In 2015 in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio prohibited immediate suspensions for unlawful possession of marijuana, minor physical altercations, profanity and insubordination. Instead, students are now being handed warning cards.
Proponents of these laws argued that students should not miss out on time spent learning for minor rule-breaking and that minority students face a disproportionately higher number of detentions and suspensions.
They’re absolutely right. Under no circumstances should a student be taken out of the classroom for chewing gum — or, of course, for having a different color of skin.
The problem, however, surpasses liberal identity politics. Teachers must have the ability to remove students who are actively disrupting the learning process and breaking rules. What if a student brings drugs onto school property? Threatens to hurt another student? Are those not grounds enough for detention?
If a teacher constantly has to deal with one misbehaving student, then they are unable to give their full attention to a class of students who are ready to learn.
In terms of education, America should and could be doing better. The nation rests upon the success of our students to lead the way in innovation and generate a strong economy.
Research in the Asia Pacific Business Review shows that countries that implement classroom discipline report higher levels of academic performance and better work ethics among students.
Multiple other studies reveal that the U.S is falling behind East Asian countries in terms of educational outcomes. In 2015, the U.S. ranked 30th in math and 19th in science among the 35 members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Those rankings should be a wake-up call.
Students need expectations. They need boundaries. Not just for the safety of the school and the maintenance of a learning-conducive classroom environment for others, but also for their own success.
Instead of punishing students for disruptive and potentially harmful behaviors, schools have turned to punishing students for expressing unsatisfactory political opinions.
Learning institutions were once venerated by all who walked through their doors. They were the place to develop skills and exchange ideas. In many countries, the opportunity to gain an education is seen as the most valuable opportunity a young person can have.
Yet in America, students are losing respect for their schools. In a nationwide survey of 21,678 U.S. high school students, Yale researchers found that nearly 75 percent of the students’ “self-reported feelings related to school” were negative. The nonprofit YouthTruth has reported that only 50 percent of students feel that what they’re learning in school is relevant to the real world.
The recent TikTok trend illustrates the breakdown of the modern American education system. Administrators are bowing down to politicians and teachers are bowing to administrators. If teachers are forced to relax the rules, the epidemic of student disengagement and disruption will only get worse.
It’s time to hold students responsible for their actions and make education matter again.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.