Down With Detention!

Johnson, LouAnne
December 2004
Education Week;12/1/2004, Vol. 24 Issue 14, p39
This article presents problems of students and measures suggested to solve them. Using detention as a catchall cure for student misbehaviors is like using one medicine for every physical ailment. If one expects children to behave in school, he must teach them to take responsibility for their behavior; and also teach them how to make better choices, how to develop personal ethics, and how to solve problems. Aside from being illogical and unfair, detention doesn't work; if it did, detention programs would phase themselves out of existence. Instead, they are filled beyond capacity, and the overflow has spawned a host of alternative and at-risk programs. Treating students decently isn't difficult. It doesn't cost money or require special training, but it does require an adult attitude adjustment. Capable, motivated students may decide to mind their manners a bit better after a visit to detention, but struggling students don't emerge from detention with a renewed interest in academic achievement and a burning desire to cooperate with adults.


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