I was recently speaking with a school administrator who was lamenting the increase in disciplinary referrals to the office. He and his assistant principal were swamped, the staff was frustrated, and the campus was teetering on the precipice. As a response, he had petitioned the district office for a second assistant principal and a full-time police officer on campus as a strategic move to combat the unruliness.

I also recently read an article about a mid-sized city that was experiencing increased crime and had recently conducted a survey that indicated a lack of faith in the police department. As a response, the city redoubled its efforts to forge positive relationships between the police force and the community, including additional resources for the Police Athletic League for youth and “walking” beats to support visibility and community-mindedness.

Both of which make me wonder: Which is the better avenue to accomplish the lofty goals of peace, partnership, and prosperity? Would it surprise you that the principal in question worked in the very city described above? A pastor in a neighboring city shared this insight: “Rules without relationship breed rebellion.” So where is the fine-line between rules, consequences, relationships, and partnership?

How do YOU create a school environment that is safe and positive for everyone involved?

Pete Hall is an educational consultant, former award-winning principal, speaker, and author of four books (including Lead On! Motivational lessons for school leaders (Eye on Education, 2011) and Teach, Reflect, Learn: Building your capacity for success in the classroom (ASCD, 2015). He shares his perspectives in 212-word entries every month or so. He can be reached for speaking engagements, professional development, or other queries at petehall@educationhall.com.