Survey Finds Disruptive Behavior Burden on Student Success

Student behavior and discipline were the focus of a recent survey released by Tulsa Public Schools and made public this week.

More than 1,000 teachers, principals and faculty members were asked about their perceptions related to school safety and discipline and their affect on student achievement in the classroom. And what did the survey find?

About 76 percent of participating Tulsa educators said that most discipline issues in their school are caused by a small number of students.And the students with serious repeated behavior or conduct problems ranged from 2-4 students.

"Teacher and leader effectiveness has gone a long way toward ensuring that we have the best teachers in TPS classrooms and the most effective leadership in our schools," Superintendent Keith Ballard said. "However, we also recognize there are barriers to student success."

According to the release from TPS, the barriers were linked to misbehavior in the classroom and the distractions to learning that directly followed them. Officials detailed that the most frequent discipline issues in class included:

- Dress Code Violations (43.5 percent)

- Profanity (37.2 percent)

- Student cliques (23.1 percent)

- Bullying (21.4 percent)

- Physical fighting (9.6 percent)

"When asked to rate the frequency of discipline problems, it was generally perceived that discipline issues occurred more frequently in the general school population versus the respondents' own classroom."

And what did teachers and principals attribute to good behavior among their students? In the list were: strong relationships with students, high expectations and supportive principal and staff.

"I am quite pleased with the information we collected from nearly 1,400 teachers, principals and support staff in the district," Phyllis Lovett, co-chair of the School Safety & Discipline Committee that commissioned the survey said. "We have come up with a preliminary list of recommendations, some which are short-term and others that are more long-term and may require funding.

Those recommendations were as follows:

1. Cultural competency training for TPS staff

2. More community schools

3. Student awards for improved attendance

4. More anti-bullying training for students and teachers

5. More behavior management training for teachers

A complete copy of the survey results may be found on the TPS website. For more information about Tulsa Public Schools, please visit