Relationships are the foundation of a successful school, business, family, and society. Bad behavior by default separates and divides, it never brings people together. When people are being pushed apart because of someone’s behavior (young or old) it is impossible to build or strengthen a relationship. Without a relationship, there can be no connection and without a connection everything suffers especially academics and school safety.
Why those two?
Academics is pretty straight forward. Students who are connected have stronger relationships with adults who in turn know the student better and therefore are able to give better advice and guidance as the student travels the path of learning. The old maxim that without knowledge there is no wisdom applies perfectly. If you don’t know the student then your efforts at educating and mentoring will be less effective or worse, damaging.
School safety is intertwined with academic process. If you lower or raise one, you lower or raise both. Students that are not committed or connected to the academic process will never be committed to making their schools safer and every student must play their part. Schools are made their safest when the students, teachers, parents, and staff members care about and look out for each other. The closer the connection, the safer the school.
Because every student (and adult) in the school must be committed to the academic process, we can’t ignore bad behavior because it divides and therefore by default also makes us all less safe. That of course doesn’t mean that we simply focus only on punishment. I know that it may be easier said than done but instead concentrate on intervention and management. Remember, there is something bigger at stake here and if we want to win big (in academics and safety) then we have to get everyone into the fold—connected—and that will never happen when bad behavior is accepted or ignored.