An Action Research Project to Help Reduce Student Misconduct in an Elementary School

State and federal laws are becoming stricter regarding schools requiring safe and productive behavior. As more laws are passed and sanctions are issued for not meeting these requirements, a greater need exists for school leaders to adopt effective behavior management strategies, techniques, and programs. This action research project was developed as a method to teach behaviors aligned with Leopard Elementary School’s three rules: Be kind, safe, and productive. This project’s focus centered on a study of the school’s staff-issued student detentions as evidence for misconduct. A group of 125 students enrolled in the after school program engaged in three lessons aimed to present information about the school’s three rules. The lessons also provided an opportunity for students to engage in discussion about behavior and explore examples of behavior that is aligned with the school rules. The three, two-part lessons were presented during a two-week span, and each lesson component lasted approximately 20 minutes. Quantitative data consisted of recording staff-issued student detentions for misconduct. Analysis of this quantitative data indicated a reduction of staff-issued detentions to students who engaged in the behavior lessons. It must be acknowledged that many factors influence student behavior; however, the noted reduction in staff-issued detentions suggests a relationship between the lessons described in this project and student conduct at school. The researcher recommends a long-term study be conducted to determine the success of the behavior lessons’ influence on student conduct over a period of years. KEYWORDS: action research project, staff-issued student detentions, behavior management plan, school sanctions for student conduct, student conduct laws