Teacher discipline at Mounds View

Leon Wang, Staff Writer

When it comes to discipline in school, many of the rules seem to be quite straightforward. A student handbook depicts guidelines for school attendance to a teacher contract with information detailing similar rules dedicated towards school staff. However, the protocols of discipline may not be as simple as they appear: They hold more significance than they present.

At the same time, there are also regulations that determine disciplinary actions for teachers who have been accused of violating a school policy. In this instance, the Mounds View Education Association union for teachers acts as an advocate for teachers’ rights and provides a lawyer to represent him or her. In the case of a teacher accusation, the dismissal process can be lengthy due to the rules, which ensures that the rights of teachers are not infringed upon. Despite the seemingly cumbersome process, it can be relatively straightforward to fire a teacher if the district has documented evidence of student mistreatment over time. Furthermore, the seemingly abrupt event of a teacher discharge can cause unrest in the school. “What students and people in the community need to remember is often times, you can’t abruptly fire somebody or discipline somebody,” said Justin Benolkin, social studies teacher. “There has to be many months or years of problems, and [other] teachers in the community don’t see those problems because they don’t have a right to see them.” Often times the consequences vary based on each specific case. “There isn’t like a handbook or a booklet that says abc or xyz because every situation is handled differently,” said Principal Stephanie Bruggers.

Although students or community members may feel that some policies of discipline are obscure or need to be more transparent, ultimately, they enable the school to run smoothly. The system of discipline for teachers and students is a system that works hard to represent all members of the school district in an equitable manner and tries to balance the public’s right to know and the privacy of individuals.