When To Quit

The fairness of quitting

Malicious and dangerous

None of us likes to quit. Once the anger subsides, we are often consumed by thoughts of how troubled the student must be to persist in self-destructive behavior. In many cases we know that the causes of the misbehavior are rooted in the family. Sometimes these kids come from backgrounds that can only be described as tragic. However, if their behavior persistently and substantially interferes with the education of the others, they must go. If you have taken all the steps outlined here without success, you are entirely justified in expecting a counselor or your principal to deal with the student and not return him until the problem is corrected. Devoting still more of your energy and resources to the one student leaves that much less for the others, and that is just not fair.

Attention seeking or boredom-relieving behavior is qualitatively different from malicious behavior. While the first two types are certainly disruptive, they can be controlled or extinguished by the techniques outlined throughout this chapter. The goal of malicious behavior, on the other hand, is the complete destruction of the academic climate and cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Students such as these have problems well beyond the wherewithal and expertise of teachers and should quickly be turned over to others.

Finally, it should be obvious that students whose actions are dangerous or destructive have no business in the classroom, either. Also, students who make threats of a serious nature should be handled by other professionals. Aside from management considerations, if the threatened act is carried out, your failure to act decisively might expose you to legal problems later on.


1. Most individual behavior problems can be avoided through the use of preventive tactics such as organized, understandable lesson plans, variety and the development of mutual respect.

2. The first corrective tactic is the silent stare.

3. Gestures and verbal reminders delivered privately are next.

4. Remove the reinforcement if possible.

5. Pre-arrange and apply consequences.

6. You must remove incorrigible, malicious or or dangerous students.

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