Long-term solution to school discipline
I think the only long-term solution to child discline is to raise the adult:child ratio to about 1:5 or more, in all situations. Humans are, among other things, group animals with powerful instincts dictating behavior. Any situation where there are too many kids will instinctively feel threatening to kids, on the ancient basis of being interpreted as “not enough providers in the group.” The instinct is, so to speak, to push extras out of the nest.
That’s why it takes incredible effort and systematic, constant measures of all sorts to keep discipline in any situation with low adult:child ratio. On the other hand, parent coops, homeschool classes, work-study programs, volunteer groups that welcome kids and other places with high adult:child ratios typically extend almost no efforts on discipline, and yet have wonderfully disciplined kids – naturally.
This calls for pretty profound changes in how the society runs, and I fully realize this. A large minority of parents (4% overall in the US, 7% among college-educated parents) take measures within families and local communities to make this happen for their kids:http://blog.p2pfoundation.net/family-educator-commons/2010/08/09 Other measures that may work, especially for teens, are work-study programs, apprenticeships with professionals, and overall integrating kids more into the grown-up world, rather than segregating them. It will take some doing, surely! Meanwhile, a good short-term measure is to open classrooms to multiple parent and community volunteers to raise the adult:child ratio. There are a lot of retired, unemployed, studying to be teachers or childhood researchers, vacationing and working-from-home people who would welcome the opportunity to help.