Vulgarity and disrespect in the classroom environment on the rise

An overbearing growth of vulgarity and disrespect has taken a toll on young adults and even children throughout the school setting. In an atmosphere where education is given, a fair amount of students take advantage of the shared environment. All around the world, there has been an increasing amount of widespread disrespect in high schools since 2009, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.
School has tried to be a place for learning and building relationships, but the school environment seems to be taking some turns lately. While the strain on teacher student relationships continues to grow, normal days at school consist of unsuitable hallway conversations, random outbursts of inappropriate language, and increasing numbers of disrespectful student and student teacher interactions.
Because of these disruptions, some students have begun to reprimand their peers in hopes of deterring such behavior and teachers are constantly being pulled away from their main focus of teaching in an attempt to handle disruptions.
“When something disrupts the class and I fall behind I kind of just move past it and try to catch up on my own work,” said Plainfield South student Jennie Phimmasene.
Though instances of disrespect and vulgarity are not frequent in her classroom, Plainfield South English Teacher, Tara Smith, recalls examples of disrespectful behavior.
“Things like talking across the classroom to each other [and] throwing things. My favorite was the kid who answered a facetime call during the middle of class [and] refused to end it,” said Smith.
Students are frequently being removed from class to speak with their deans and receive their respective disciplinary consequences.
“We have 31 referrals in the first semester for disrespect. Thirty-one referrals for around 90 school days, [so] you’re seeing three per day,” said Plainfield South High School Assistant Principal of Discipline and Attendance William Bicker.
Students seem to not only be losing respect for their teachers, but they are losing respect for their peers. Students shove each other in the halls, yell out obscenities, and make school uncomfortable for those who go there to learn and have fun.
“Those who disrupt need to realize that it’s not only affecting them but those surrounding and causing other students to lose focus in class,” Phimmasene said.
According to the professor of education policy Pasi Sahlberg, “Nearly four out of five teachers said they saw a decrease in students’ ability to focus on learning tasks.”
With the constant disruptions, many students’ education is jeopardized when teachers have to stop instructions or even cancel the lessons for the day. With this circumstance, those who interrupt leave tension between the teacher and students.
Having an environment like this leads to other students feeling as though they can not get the help they need.
According to Cornell University a classroom is a mix of emotional, social and instructional components creating an atmosphere which can affect the motivation of students. Students that are more motivated influence them to engage in classroom activities.  While students rely on teaching themselves they are more easily influenced in getting sidetracked by these disruptions, leading the classroom to be disorganized and also.
According to Dr. Ken Shore, a psychologist and chair of a child study team for Hamilton, Any circumstance of disturbances, a student who interrupts leads you or the class to come off-course and causes students to avoid engaging fully in class activities.
This negative behavior is often difficult to combat. After disruptions become more annoying than entertaining to students, some students try to get their peers to behave.
“I think at first they find it entertaining and they are okay with it. After a while you see kids starting to get annoyed by it and fed up with it if it persists,” Smith said.
Teachers at South have been taking  measures to deescalate instances of disrespectful behavior before consequences are needed. Methods of stopping disruptive behavior include standing near disruptive students, creating new seating charts, and having one-on-one conversations with students about their behavior.
“When students are being disrespectful in the classroom the environment becomes more uneasy rather than freighting and not comfortable to be in,” Phimmasene said.
When such attempts do not work, students are removed from class to speak with their deans and receive their respective disciplinary consequences.
Plainfield South disciplinary system has a three tier offense level. Level one infractions are met with discussions and possible detentions. Level two infractions are met with longer detentions and possible contact with home. Level three infractions are met with suspension and possible referrals.
The reason for the increase in non school appropriate behavior is not concrete, but Plainfield South Dean, Taryn Blazek, has noticed a trend.
“Frequently, we process with students to determine more effective ways to communicate with authority,” said Blazek. “Students sometimes feel like they are not heard, but we stress the importance of respect and talking with their teachers to open the lines of communication.”
Lack of mutual respect is not the only reason for student behavior. Reasons as simple as student disposition and inconsistent enforcement of the rules are excuses for misbehavior at Plainfield South.
With this type of behavior shown in the classroom constantly, it has become a new norm.
“There may be behaviors acceptable at home that would be unexceptionable at school but when we are able to join as one and work together we could create a shared culture,” said Bicker.
With this shared culture, students  are cooperating and creating an environment which is comfortable not only for students but for the teachers as well.
As one big group, students are able to find ways t0 help support each other to bring awareness to these circumstances and demonstrate these skills which are only taught from the environment they are in.
According to The University of Iowa when students appreciate one another’s company, they are more likely to obtain security in the environment.
When finding ways to help acknowledge these problems, students should understand that being disrespectful affects those around them and even themselves because they fail to gain respect because of their actions. When everyone in the school does their part to be positive and respectful, there will be a decrease in disciplinary actions and referrals.
Students should also hold their peers accountable for their actions. If students work together to discourage negative behavior and administration continues to encourage positive student behavior, then Plainfield South High School will once again be a space where students go to learn and have fun while doing it.
Schools are facing the consequences of unfavorable student behavior due to the increase of insubordination, inappropriate language, and lack of respect for rules and authority. This distracting behavior causes instruction time to be redirected towards student discipline and a mood shift in classrooms. Though teachers and students try to correct unwarranted behavior, there is a growing number of instances where stricter discipline is necessary.
There is a shared effort made by teachers, students and administrators who wish to make school more positive. Student to student reprimand will discourage unruly behavior while teacher and administrator enforced discipline towards students will encourage them to change their behavior. Students should also self-reflect and attempt to revise their actions when needed. Everyone must work hard in order to promote a more positive and respectful school climate.