chapter  12
—Behavioral Issues in the Classroom
Pages 19

Developing and sustaining positive interaction between teachers and students in the classroom helps facilitate a positive classroom community and reduces problem behaviors that may occur (Goldstein & Brooks, 2007). Unfortunately, problematic student behavior is often cited as one of the major reasons that teachers leave the teaching profession within the first five years of employment (McCoy, 2003). In addition, discipline in schools has been consistently viewed as a top concern in the public’s mind with respect to public schools (Gallup, 2005). The belief by the general public is that schools are rife with discipline problems, especially in urban schools; the reality is far from that. Since 1994, acts of violence in schools have declined (Dinkes, Kemp, & Baum, 2009). Incidents such as the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School have provided a distorted view of violence in schools to the general public. In fact, targeted school violence is extremely rare and according to the School Violence Resource Center violent deaths in schools have declined annually since 1997-1998 (Paine & Cowan, 2009). However, there remain genuine concerns with student behavior and the discipline of those students. Most notably, increasing attention has been given to how classroom management contributes to behavior problems, which ultimately lead to the disruption of learning. In addition, there has been growing concern regarding students of color and their discipline disproportionality. The racial discipline gap, whereby students of color receive the majority of school suspensions and expulsions despite engaging in similar offenses to white students, is a social justice issue.