What is a Behavior Management Policy?

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

A behavior management policy can help you establish rules for student behavior. This lesson identifies the components of a behavior management policy and explains how to develop an action plan to implement a policy in K-12 schools.

Behavior Management Policies

If you have ever worked as a teacher or school administrator, you most likely already know just how tough behavior management can be. Behavior problems in the classroom can be frustrating, disruptive and even dangerous. A behavior management policy, which outlines rules as well as acceptable and non-acceptable conduct, can help you address and correct student behavior.

Components of a Behavior Management Policy

There are five major components of a behavior management policy.

Mission Statement

One of the most important parts of creating a behavior management policy is to make the goal of the policy perfectly clear with a mission statement. The mission statement should be included at the start of your written behavior management policy. It should use specific language and examples to explain why you have created the behavior management policy. Statements like ''encourage good behavior'' are not as effective as statements like ''ensure that students listen carefully, follow instructions and learn to the best of their ability with minimal distraction.''

Expectations and Rules

The second component of the behavior management policy is pretty straightforward. List the rules and expectations you have for your school or classroom. This can be a numbered list or written rule or a series of pictures that explain the rules. As with the mission statement, these rules should be as clear as possible. The goal here is to prevent students from being surprised by your expectations for their behavior. An example of a rule could be something as simple as 'Please make sure that you dispose of all gum before coming into my class.'


The procedures portion of your behavior management policy is similar to the rules and expectations section. However, procedures are more like instructions rather than rules. Procedures help to explain things like 'how to get the teacher's attention' or 'how to exit the classroom for lunch.' An example of a procedure might be something like 'Line up quietly at the door and wait for the teacher to open the door and dismiss the class.'


The next component of your behavior management policy involves outlining consequences for breaking the rules or violating procedures. Usually this is listed in escalating steps. For example, if a student is talking during a test, the first consequence may be a verbal warning. If the student continues talking, the next consequence may be a written warning handed to the student to let him or her know which rule they have broken. The next step might be more severe, such as a call or a letter to let the parents know that their child has violated a rule.

Crisis Plan

The crisis plan makes clear the steps you will take in order to deal with an immediate crisis. Some examples of a situation qualifying as a crisis could be an aggressive student who poses a danger to themselves, other students or teaching professionals. Steps for handling these types of situations may include a call from the classroom to the principal, resource officer or even the police.

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