Vauxhall Enforces ‘Sterling’ Discipline
Carl Sterling is the youngest member of the administration at Vauxhall High, but that has in no way impeded his ability to positively impact the improvements in discipline at the school.
Having taken up the role as dean of discipline at Vauxhall in 2012, Sterling, in partnership with the teachers and leadership, set about solving the disciplinary and security challenges of the school.
"The major challenges that I observed were the impoliteness and tardiness of students. We also had a challenge in terms of serious incidents. In my first two weeks, we had a number of serious fights where the police had to be called in," he told The Gleaner.
Sterling explained how he dealt with the challenges.
"The first thing I did was look at how we can prevent stabbing incidents, so I organised a safety and security committee which looked at the outline of the campus, the areas where children would try to hide from classes and where the serious incidents would occur, and we developed a communication protocol."
He also added that he has been able to prevent incidents by being proactive in gathering information.
"In building rapport with the students, I was able to get information prior to particular incidents, fights, and whether there are knives on the campus ... so we were able to prevent by gathering information and building rapport with students," he said.
Through these initiatives, the school has not had any serious incidents in recent times. The introduction of a campus-management plan has also reaped rewards.
"Working with the staff is very important, so we got together and organised a campus-management plan where teachers are at specific locations throughout the day, especially during the lunch period and at the beginning at school," Sterling explained.
Sterling provided a future outlook for the work of his safety and security committee.
"We are coming off the shift system, so that transition is the primary focus now. We want to look at improving what we have by using technology, such as cameras and software systems, to manage students."
According to Sterling, a smart approach to discipline should be adopted by schools.
"Sometimes, in our intent to maintain student discipline, we don't look at the long-term effects of our actions. So we have to look at ensuring that the rights of the child are maintained, ensure that we try and understand some of the challenges that our students are facing ... . We also have to ensure that, in our attempt to maintain discipline in our schools, we do not go overboard," he said.
Sterling went on to share the greatest lesson he has learnt during his time at Vauxhall.
"... People can come from the worst background, so don't discount anyone, because I have seen young people from the inner city who have risen to the occasion and have made Vauxhall proud," he said.