A demerit system can be used in academic institutions to help keep students on the right track. It can be used to keep track of a student’s behavior and conduct, as well as a student’s ability to follow classroom rules and instructions. In some institutions, each teacher can come up with an individualized demerit system for the classroom; however, a school-wide demerit system is usually established, too. Organizing and communicating the demerit system to students is equally important.

Write down all the things that you want to include in the demerit system. It can include talking out of turn, disrespectful behavior, using a cell phone during class, tardiness, harassing another student, dress code violations or vandalism. The possibilities are almost endless, and you need to decide which offenses make sense for your classroom or school.

Assign a certain number of points that students will lose for each offense you listed. This is the amount of demerits they receive. For example, you might assign only one demerit for a dress code violation and three demerits for disrespectful behavior.

List the various punishments that can be implemented as a result of receiving demerits. These punishments will be specific to your school or classroom but can include things like a conference with parents, an after-school detention, a Saturday detention, suspension, a lower grade for a course or losing certain privileges, such as recess.

Allocate a certain number of demerits to each punishment. For example, once a student reaches five demerits or more, the student may receive an after-school detention.

Keep track of each student’s demerits. This can be done using a computer program that includes a spreadsheet feature or on paper. Next to each student’s name, keep track of the number of demerits received and when a punishment for demerits is issued.

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