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Probe Ministries > Q & A: Probe Answers Our Email > Marriage / Family > Do You Have More Information on School Discipline Problems?

Do You Have More Information on School Discipline Problems? Print E-mail

In the late 1940s teachers listed the worst problems they faced in school as chewing gum, running in the hall, etc. A few years ago teachers listed some violent crimes as the worst problems. Do you have more detail on this?

One example often used to demonstrate social decline is the list of discipline problems in the public schools. Usually the list contrasts school problems 50 years ago with those today.

Supposedly the top problems in the schools 50 years ago were: talking, chewing gum, running in the halls, making noise, getting out of line, violating the dress code, and littering. According to the survey, today's school problems are: drugs, alcohol, pregnancy, suicide, rape, and robbery.

Unfortunately, the school discipline list is an invention. The lists are not the result of research or surveys. The first list (50 years ago) catalogues daily disturbances. The second list (today) is actually composed of items from a "Safe School" questionnaire. To read more about these school discipline lists, see Barry O'Neill, "The invention of the school discipline lists," School Administrator, 51 (1994): 8-11. I would NOT recommend you use these lists to demonstrate social decline.

Perhaps the best way to illustrate social and moral decline in this country would be to cite many of the statistics in Bill Bennett's book Index of Leading Cultural Indicators (New York: Simon & Schuster, 1994) or at the Empower America Web Site ( These show a dramatic change in social statistics from 1960 and use respected instruments of measurement.

Kerby Anderson
Probe Ministries

About the Author

Kerby AndersonKerby Anderson is president of Probe Ministries International. He holds masters degrees from Yale University (science) and from Georgetown University (government). He is the author of several books, including Christian Ethics in Plain Language, Genetic Engineering, Origin Science, Signs of Warning, Signs of Hope and Making the Most of Your Money in Tough Times. His new series with Harvest House Publishers includes: A Biblical Point of View on Islam, A Biblical Point of View on Homosexuality, A Biblical Point of View on Intelligent Design and A Biblical Point of View on Spiritual Warfare. He is the host of "Point of View" (USA Radio Network) heard on 360 radio outlets nationwide as well as on the Internet ( and shortwave. He is also a regular guest on "Prime Time America" (Moody Broadcasting Network) and "Fire Away" (American Family Radio). He produces a daily syndicated radio commentary and writes editorials that have appeared in papers such as the Dallas Morning News, the Miami Herald, the San Jose Mercury, and the Houston Post.


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Probe Ministries is a non-profit ministry whose mission is to assist the church in renewing the minds of believers with a Christian worldview and to equip the church to engage the world for Christ. Probe fulfills this mission through our Mind Games conferences for youth and adults, our 3-minute daily radio program, and our extensive Web site at

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