Detention Doesn’t Help



Detention doesn’t give students a chance to reflect on bad behavior or find coping strategies. Overall, it’s a waste of time.

Maria Hernandez, Staff Writer

Whether it’s a detention for being tardy one too many times or our parents grounding us for some sort of bad behavior, we’ve all experienced discipline at some point. But are detentions really effective at curbing misbehavior?My first experience in detention was not as I expected it to be. Once I sat down, I saw many kids on their phones and even talking. I really did not know what to do after I got there and felt like it was a waste of my time. Detentions aren’t really helping students with behavior problems and they are just a waste of time for both students and teachers.

I’m not the only one that feels this way, either. In an article titled “The Surprising Truth About Discipline In School,”  published in Forbes Magazine in 2014, Nick Morrison, a freelance journalist specializing in education, explained how giving kids detentions or any sort of punishment does not work. Morrison wrote about an experiment conducted by Dr. Ruth Payne, a lecturer at Leeds University in the U.K. and herself a former teacher. Dr. Payne surveyed students at schools to find out their attitudes to punishments and rewards. “Missing break or getting detentions does not seem to work,” she said in the article. Payne went on to explain that getting yelled at in front of the class or punishing the class by the misbehavior of certain students ends up creating resentment and harming the student-teacher bond. Students learn that bad behavior causes consequences, but they are not learning how to act better. For some teachers it might feel good to put students in detention or other punishment, but students are not being taught how to act appropriately.  

One school seemed to take this research into account and instead of disciplining, worked to find a way to help kids cope and redirect their bad behavior. According to a CNN report titled “Instead of detention, these students get meditation” by Deborah Bloom,  when students at West Baltimore Elementary School get into trouble, they go into the meditation room where there they can relax and talk about what happened for a few minutes. Not only do they talk about what happened but they do yoga, stretch and practice deep breathing. A quarter of Baltimore residents are living below poverty, according to U.S. census data and when students go to school they can feel safe as they talk about things that are happening outside of school and feel more relieved with less stress on their shoulders.

Overall, I think that Round Lake Senior High School should follow the West Baltimore Elementary School and do meditation in the mornings and afternoons. Although we may not have many staff members, there might be some people willing to step up for a change and make school better.