Against the Tide: Enacting Respectful Student Behaviour Polices in ‘Zero Tolerance’ Times



School leaders are under pressure to ensure that their schools ‘manage’ students’ behaviour to establish ‘good order’. They are required to interpret, reconcile and make decisions about the plethora of legislation, policies and practices that relate to student behaviour in schools. This policy work is messy and complex, and influenced by ideological differences about the status children and the ways to ‘discipline’ them. The challenge for schools is to enact polices that do not aim simply to control students but rather aim to treat students with respect and enable them to develop as individuals with a sense of agency within a community of learners. This ‘policy work’ that schools do is the focus of the research reported in this chapter. We present findings from the Behaviour at School Study that show how schools can develop and enact respectful student behaviour policies.


Student Engagement Behaviour Management Student Behaviour Government School Contextual Dimension 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This chapter is an outcome of the Behaviour at School Study funded by the Australian Research Council (LP110100317). We would like to acknowledge the other members of the research team: Professor Larry Owens, Professor Bob Conway, Mr Bill Lucas and Dr Mel Baak.

The following partner organisations contributed funds and/or in-kind support to this project:

Department for Education and Child Development South Australia

Catholic Education South Australia

Association of Independent Schools South Australia

South Australian Secondary Principals Association

Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary Schools, South Australia

South Australian Primary Principals Association

South Australian Catholic Primary Principals Association

Note: the views expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the partner organisations’ policies.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia

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