What is Positive School Discipline?

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When children fail to succeed, the whole community is harmed. Keeping students engaged in the classroom is fundamental to academic success. The use of punitive discipline practices that rely on suspension, expulsion, and other harsh consequences—often applied disproportionately to minority students—undermine the goal of success for all.
Positive School Discipline is a comprehensive approach that uses discipline to teach rather than punish and, as a result, helps students succeed and thrive in school. Schools that take this approach promote positive student behavior while preventing negative and risky behaviors.
Positive School Discipline is integrated into the policies, programs, and practices of a school and is applied systemwide—in the classroom, school, and community—to create a safe, supportive learning environment for all students. 
Find out more about the need for Positive School Discipline, or learn how to implement this approach by taking our online Positive School Discipline Course for School Leaders.


  • The traditional model says, “Throw the kids out for refusing to listen to you.” …What I learned is that what our students need the most is not negative consequences and zero tolerance polices. What our students need is absolutely consistent and urgent support around maintaining appropriate behavior. They need to feel valued and confident in school.

    Billy Aydlett, principal
    Leataata Floyd Elementary School, Sacramento City Unified School District, California
  • Restorative practices changed the way I view discipline. As an assistant principal my task was to assign blame and levy a penalty. That didn’t sit well anymore. The goal is for students not to repeat misbehavior. Now I see my task as helping them, and it’s done through building relationships.

    Richard Hollahan, principal
    Newtown Middle School, Pennsylvania
  • PBIS is not just a school program. These are our children; they are the community’s children. When we have children who are socially, emotionally, behaviorally healthier, they are going to be healthier citizens.

    Marian Sheridan, Safe Schools/Healthy Students project administrator
    Fond du Lac School District, Wisconsin