The study investigated gender differences in decisions on student disciplinary behaviours by selected Kenyan secondaiy school disciplinaiy panels which may be due to composition of disciplinaiy panels, perceptions of students presenting with disciplinaiy behaviours and behaviour expectations of students on the basis of school categories. The study employed mixed methods approach and collected both quantitative and qualitative data using questionnaire and interview protocol. Participants of the study comprised seventy-eight disciplinaiy panel members (45 makes and 33 females) of ten secondaiy schools. The results revealed gender differences in decision making behaviours by members of Kenyan secondaiy school disciplinaiy panels, gender differences in the perceptions of students presenting with disciplinaiy behaviours and differences between single-sex schools and coeducational schools on presenting disciplinaiy behaviours perceived to negatively affect disciplinaiy tones of schools, the latter possibly to indicate gender differences in behaviour expectations of students depending on categories of schools.
Key Words: Gender differences, disciplinary behaviours, disciplinaiy panels, decision making, secondary schools, Kenya
Due to escalating violent behaviours of secondary school students, in Kenya, public secondaiy schools were directed to evolve appropriate responses to their students' problem behaviours. The Kenyan Ministry of Education (2005) directed all public schools to review and or overhaul all the rules and regulations for governing students' behaviours as well as the methods and procedures for administering minor and severe disciplinaiy measures, as stipulated in the Kenya Education Act of 1967 (Aloka, 2012). Each Kenyan public secondaiy school is also to make available to each student a booklet of school rules and regulations where it is clearly stipulated standards of behaviours expected of students in schools, how the standards are to be achieved, the sanctions for breaking school rules and the rewards for good behaviours (Aloka, 2012). Further effort at ensuring the implementation of schools' policies on student behaviours is the requirement that each school should have disciplinaiy panel or committee made up of a small group of teachers. The role of a Kenyan secondaiy school disciplinaiy panel is not dissimilar to the stated by Bridge House (2012) which is to ensure that students adhere to the expected norms of conduct including orderly school and classroom behaviours. As also opined by Yahaya, Ramli, Hashim, Ibrahim, Rahman and Yahaya (2009) each Kenyan secondaiy school disciplinary panel is to develop procedures for monitoring students' behaviours and for dealing with breaches of disciplinaiy policies and to prevent occurrences of unacceptable behaviours. Furthermore and consistent with the assertion by Gillborn, Nixon & Rudduck, (1993) and Hue (2007) each Kenyan secondaiy school disciplinaiy panel is to positively manage students' behaviours and ensure that students live by rule-guided behaviours and with greater sense of control over their behaviours.
The review of relevant literature that follows feature discussions on schools' role in student behaviour development, the basis for the use of small group of teachers to make decisions for the management of student behaviours in schools, decision making process in small groups, dimensions of presenting student disciplinaiy problems on which decisions are made and the bases for gender differences in decisions.
According to Williamson and Briggs (1975), the most important mission of any school is that of the development of appropriate attitudes, values, intellectual and moral commitments in students. Hiutt (1997) also contends that schools have responsibility to help individual student develop a vision for life as well as character, a sense of direction and competency. Taking the perspective of student development theoiy Benson (2009) states further that all institutions of learning, including secondary schools, have responsibility for the overall development of their students including the development and facilitation of students' minds as well as their comprehensive self-development for the production of forward-looking leaders to spearhead their nation's development in the years to come. …