Should Detention Be Used As a Form of Punishment for Tardies?

By Matthew Selman 

Benicia High School recently brought back lunch detentions and after school detentions for students that are misbehaving, and for students that are late to school. BHS administrators brought back detention hoping to limit the absences and tardies that were occurring throughout the first semester of school, and it worked for a couple of weeks.

Students were arriving on time trying to avoid getting lunch detention, many seniors have a shortened schedule and get out of school after their fourth period. Meaning if they are late to school five times, they will have lunch detention and they will have to stay on campus for an extra 30 minutes. The problem is, after a few weeks of detention, students stopped coming on time and were accepting their lunch detentions. Seniors in particular started arriving late to class again, and making up the work they missed during their detention. Underclassmen are also arriving late again, one freshman has already racked up 50 tardies since the beginning of February.

So do detentions help prevent absences and tardiness? For the students that were already arriving late due to no consequences in the beginning of the year, they are mostly still arriving late. Detention is not changing their morning routine of showing up at 8:50am. Many students are not in control of when they can arrive at school. Some students have divorced parents and might live in Fairfield or Concord. Other students have younger siblings that need to be dropped off as well, causing them to be late. The middle school starts at 8:15, giving parents and high schoolers only 15 minutes to be in their seats for class. Traffic from the middle school, elementary school, and the high school can make it difficult for students to arrive into class on time.

A solution to this problem is to remove tardy punishment for the first 20 minutes of the first period. This will limit the detentions for students that are trying their best to get to school on time, and will target the students that are purposefully skipping class. If students are late to classes in the middle of the day, then they should be punished for being late. For instance, if a student is messing around in the bathroom with friends and the bell rings, they should have consequences.

Detention at Benicia High School will limit the amount of students that are misbehaving, possibly limit vaping during school hours, but it will not prevent students from being late.

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