Discipline by Imposing Consequences Results in a Lawsuit

The July 2, 2014 issue of the Los Angels Times headlined the following: Ethics guru and school spar on discipline.

Michael Josephson made a career of encouraging people to do the right thing. His Los Angeles based nonprofit, The Josephson Institute of Ethics, has trained government officials, corporate officers, Olympic athletes, and millions of schoolchildren in ethical decision-making.

Josephson is now suing a school in Los Angeles because the school mistreated one of his teenage daughters because of a discipline disagreement and will not allow another of his daughters to complete her senior high school year at the private school.

In a nutshell, the problem arose when the school imposed a disciplinary action on one of his daughters.

The entire episode and legal battle could have been avoided if the school had used the Discipline Without Stress approach of eliciting a consequence rather than of imposing one.

The beauty of eliciting a consequence in discipline matters is that good relationships are retained. In addition, the student is not only held responsible for any inappropriate behavior but the student also owns the decision. This is in contrast to what this school and many others do by imposing a consequence—whether referred to as “natural” or “logical.” Imposing a consequence, threat, or punishment promotes victimhood and unfair feelings.

So many discipline problems can be so easily resolved by using the totally noncoercive (but not permissive) Discipline Without Stress approach.