Sunday, March 9, 2008

Increasing Dress Code Compliance

Peoria Notre Dame is currently considering a fining system for the next school year for minor offenses. Traditionally we have used a detention system. No system is perfect they all have their strengths and weaknesses. Please share your collective wisdom by posting below.

Increasing Dress Code Compliance
Going through our evaluations from the last inservice it is fairly obvious that the most mentioned item for student improvement is better enforcement of the current dress code. We are all in this together. We all realize it is our job to mutually enforce the rules of the school. It is not just the dean's job or just the teachers' job but the task rests with all of us because we all teach character.

I've just finished reading the book "Freakonomics" which is a wonderful read and certainly very entertaining. I highly recommend it. The book spends chapters explaining and evaluating incentives and how to use incentives to produce the desired behavior.

Applying the lessons of "Freakonomics" to the dress code problem we've come up with an interesting proposal to try during the Fall of next year. We are all annoyed with the dress code compliance right now and would like to see it better. What if we tried the following next fall?

1. Dress code violations would result in monetary fines rather than detentions.
2. The fines would double with each violation.
3. The collected fine money would go to provide teachers with added perks (I'm thinking a water cooler or two in the lounge and bagels / donuts every Friday).
4. Students with unpaid balances would be unable to attend athletic events, dances, be eligible for sports, receive diplomas etc.
5. For students with chronic problems the dean reserves the right to apply other disciplinary consequences.

Obviously there are pros and cons to every plan. The pros of this plan is that consequences are more proporional to what the offense is. Right now a student who has an untucked shirt receives the same punishment as a student who mouths off i.e. a detention. The other pro is the money or loss there of is a huge motivator. In life many minor offenses are met with fines rather than imprisonment.

Cons include some wealthy students being able to flaunt the rules. Of course they would have to correct the offense and pay the fine. Other cons would be parents complaining that the fine essentially ends up their responsibility and costs them a significant amount of money. Of course the parent could cut off the lunch money or hock some of their children's belongins on ebay to pay the fine.

Let me know what you think? We are rewriting the handbook over the next two weeks. Would it work? What are other points we are missing? Do you have a better solution?

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