The role of Assistant Principals is rewarding, but it’s a hard road. Trust me; I know.
As a former school administrator who handled discipline, the job is beneficial to parents and students when the school and district have adopted a restorative justice driven behavior and discipline model. Unfortunately, many of public school districts don’t invest in these models which is why we see millions of dollars being added into school resources officers. Parents must know that it’s not to protect children but to protect a social interest which unfortunately results in over policing Black and brown children.
But parents are being told that because teenagers are acting like teenagers in school, we need more police officers in hallways and classrooms. Our social beliefs play more of role in how we discipline children in schools than we think.
For example, school districts could invest more in citizenship, civics, and civic engagement to help youth make healthy, safe, and productive choices as they enter young adulthood. Assistant principals also need to be supported in developing and implementing restorative justice models. They are the ones who are tasked with getting teachers and staff members on board with these practices.
Assistant principal selections, dean of students, or dean of discipline are important to the culture of the school. Parents should be interested and invested in this position especially if you know and understand the disparity of data on discipline and behavior incidents involving Black and brown students.
Parents want a fair, equipped, resourceful, and innovative leader in the assistant principal position or similarly functioning postions that lead discipline.
If you have a child who has had discipline infractions or who has been mistreated due to harsh implementation of discipline policies then getting to know the top discipline officer is a desired first stop when looking at schools. I tell parents to ask who handles student discipline and teacher accountability? Most times parents will be directed to the assistant principal.
I also believe parents can learn a lot about the school systems discipline policies and gain a sense of what needs to be changed from the district level through school experiences. Parents should also champion for parent representatives to be on all committees led by the assistant principal, and parents should be invloved in any discipline policy changes.