Schools are facing increasing challenges in their efforts to educate learners appropriately and safely. Learners who demonstrate inappropriate, anti-social, and/or disruptive behaviours are becoming more prevalent. School personnel are dealing with disruptive behaviours that occur more frequently and that affect staff and student safety and productivity. An assumption in managing problem behaviours in many urban schools is that punishment will change behaviour. Severe and penalising disciplinary policies frequently result in a negative school environment rather than improving student behaviour. In general, urban schools across the nation rely on suspensions, reprimands, withholding of privileges, and/or expulsion as the means of discipline. Unfortunately, these reactive procedures only help a small number of children learn to comply with general expectations and are insufficient for many students who exhibit more challenging behaviour problems.
In this research, the perceptions of the stakeholders towards the disciplinary system of one school was explored through conducting interviews with the principal and ten selected Grade 8 and 9 teachers; a focus group discussion with the parents and a questionnaire administered to the learners. The transcriptions of interviews were analysed using qualitative content analysis. The quantitative results of the questionnaires were analysed using descriptive statistics. The findings suggest that the disciplinary system is failing at this particular school. While all the stakeholders blame each other or shift their responsibilities, other stakeholders claim that another person in the management team should take charge of the discipline in the school, adding to the negative school culture surrounding the school s disciplinary system. The general approach to implementing the disciplinary system is to put the blame on others instead of implementing proactive measures to improve the school s disciplinary system.