9th Reading Forum

Meditation vs. detention article response

Please post your response as a reply to this discussion.

Read my model response below—it is meant to be a model for formatting and length.

Use the following prompts to guide your response:

How do you feel about the article's main claim that giving young students meditation time rather than detention is a positive step?

How might this same idea work or not work for high school students?

Why do we give detentions? Are they just meant to be a punishment? A deterrent, something to prevent students from misbehaving or misbehaving again?

In order to receive credit, your response must include the following:

1) At least one direct quotation from the article to provide evidence for a claim you are making, and

2) A direct reference to someone else's response, either in agreement or disagreement. This reference should mention the student (or teacher) by name and should be included in your own response.

7:20 a.m. Still dark in the hallways, sometimes the interior doors are still locked. Time for morning detention duty. For a couple of weeks during the school year, I, like all of your teachers, have morning detention duty. Contractually, teachers are not required to be in the building until 8:00 a.m., but we have to be here at 7:20 a.m. when we have morning detention duty. We aren't paid extra like we are for other duties like supervising athletic events. It's on these mornings that I wonder why we have detention.

Detention is often synonymous with punishment, but who is being punished? Yes, students have to get up early (or stay late, if they choose p.m. detention), but it feels like punishment for teachers as well. Why not have students apologize (as the young boy in the article does) and be required to do something positive for the school, rather than merely serving time? Perhaps detention is meant to be a deterrent, a threat that stops students from disrupting class or being tardy. I'm interested in hearing what students think about this, as I don't feel many students are in class thinking "I'd do something stupid and inappropriate right now, only I don't want a detention."

I especially don't understand the point of detention for younger students. They need guidance and instruction on how to work through their frustrations in more positive ways. Meditation can help with that. As the building principal quoted in the article said, " . . . we're trying really hard here to make this a place where children feel safe and their needs are met." The connection between students who receive detentions and students whose needs are not being met outside of the school building is strong. So let's use schools to help those students rather than merely punishing them.

While I believe these lessons in how to deal with stress are even more necessary for high school students, I fear many high school students would resist such lessons. High school students would look at these exercises as weird, even though breathing exercises and yoga are things many elite athletes use to deal with stress and improve focus. And few schools have the support of a non-profit foundation to run meditation centers, as the school in the article did. Understaffed schools are much more likely to stick to the status quo and put students in detention, even though such detentions do little if anything to actually address the reasons the student earned the detention in the first place.

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