"Autonomy breeds innovation at struggling high school" Jamaica Plains Gazette
The students the Gazette spoke to all recognized Code Blue primarily as a disciplinary tool. Getting “coded” is now common parlance for getting in trouble, students told the Gazette.
“You do not want to get coded,” said senior Jason Semado.
Luis Reyes Jr., also a senior, said the system “makes it harder for kids to run around.”
“Teachers use that program for discipline. I try to stay away from it,” said Anis Abdulle, an 11th grader and editor of the school newspaper.
The system, it turns out, has its origin in high-level theoretical considerations of discipline and control in modern society. Rud told the Gazette Michel Foucault’s book, “Discipline and Punish,” provided some of the inspiration for the system.
In that book, Foucault outlines a theory that institutions, including schools and prisons are constantly striving to master a system of perfect surveillance. The French theorist uses a prison design known as the Panopticon—originally developed in the 1800s—as a metaphor for modern society. In that design a darkened tower is surrounded by a ring of backlit prison cells, so every movement in the cells is visible from the tower, but activity inside the tower is invisible from the cells. The ultimate goal of the system is for inmates, who can never know if they are being watched, to police themselves.
While Foucault’s treatise described what he called disciplinary society in unequivocally negative terms, Rud, in a unique reading, apparently took a positive lesson from it.
Having more information gives teachers perspective to confront problematic student behavior in different ways, he said. Traditionally, Isolated in the classroom setting, “teachers see symptoms. Behavioral problems, absences and altercations automatically become disciplinary issues,” he said.
But Code Blue offers teachers a fuller understanding of what is going on in their classrooms. Rud said in his experience, students respond positively when authority figures are able to assert coherent authority.
“Kids flock to teachers like me who are more on the setting boundaries side of things, he said. “Growing up, my parents and teachers didn’t let me fall through the cracks. Setting boundaries for kids and imposing discipline is an act of love.”
07 December 2008
'imposing discipline is an act of love'
Author: ortho at 10:31