We all know the disciplining students is never fun. We hate to be the bad guy. Unfortunately this is an issue that every ministry has to deal with. Remember that disciplining students is not about anger or fear but about controlling the situation and respect for the other students. Sometimes students who are being disruptive need extra love and support and other times they are just causing problems. It is up to you to determine the situation. Make sure that no matter what you do, you let the student know they are loved and accepted but that they are expected to maintain a certain level of respect for the group.
Here at Flite Ministries we follow the 3R Rule. Remind, Reseat and Remove. On the first instance (whatever you deem that to be) we Remind the student why they are there. In the case of small groups, some students may just not want to be there but reminding them helps them to know that there are students who do want to be there. If the disruptions continue, Reseat the student somewhere else. In a small group setting, you may want to bring that student next to one of the adults in the group. We hope that by Reseating a student, that will take away some temptations for them to cause disruptions. Finally, if the student continues being disruptive, we need to Remove them from the small group. Normally this is a phone call to the parents to come pick up their student.
If you decide to make a phone call to parents, follow these steps:
- If you are an adult leader (not the Youth Pastor), let the Youth Pastor know what you are doing.
- Have the student call the parents, letting them know that they need to be picked up and why.
- Talk to the parents (on the phone) after the student does, explaining the steps that were taken and the reasons that student is being asked to leave.
- Wait with the student until the parent arrives, making sure to speak with the parent about what has happened and letting them know that their student is welcomed back next week.
I hope that it never comes to removing a student from the small group but sometimes that is what is needed. No matter what we do, we need to emphasize that we love the student and want them to be involved but that they need to respect you, the leader, and the other students who might want to learn something.
If the student continues to be a problem in the following weeks, you may need to let the student know they need to take a season away from the small group (determine how long that might be) so they can decide if the small group is really where they want to be. As much as we love having students here, we need to teach them about respect for the teachers and the other students. By following the 3R's, we give the student plenty of opportunity to fix the situation.
There is never a good one-way to discipline students. You always need to look at the student and the situation before moving forward. You know your students and your adult leaders, so make sure to talk with them and empower them to make the decisions needed.