There May Be A Surprising Replacement For School Detention

Detention has come a long way from the Breakfast Club scene many of us think of, especially in regards to supervision.

But one thing it still has in common is its general ineffectiveness, and aimless direction.

So why do we keep resorting to futile treatments? Don’t our children deserve more from us? One school sure thinks so. 

A couple of years ago, a Maryland school replaced traditional detention programs for misbehaving kids to having a room where they engaged in a period of mindfulness. 

Could such a switch work?

Yes! The results were even better than expected.

According to Conservative Mom, “outward aggression was quickly transformed into peaceful self-reflection.”

Robert W. Coleman Elementary School set up a revolutionary room for it’s students who need “special attention” called the Mindful Moment Room.

In stark contrast to a detention room you may remember as a child, the Mindful Moment Room is brightly decorated, and is adorned with comfy pillows and interesting art. 

Therapeutic aromas fill the air while the children are taught techniques that relax the body, such as controlled breathing and meditation.

Once the kids have a chance to calm down from whatever escalated them, they can return to class.

The room the kids calm down in is fully equipped with trained staff members to teach the kids meditative breathing, and exercise moves that strengthen and tone the body while relieving stress. 

Anyone who has used exercise to decompress knows that it’s effects are almost instantaneous and long-lasting, as Mommy Underground has previously reported.

This all sounds good in theory, but how are the kids responding?

One young boy who had a confrontation with another student was sent to the Mindful Moment Room, and this is what he had to say about the experience, according to The Conservative Mom:

I did some deep breathing, had a little snack, and I got myself together. Then I apologized to my class.”

Instead of his mom having to re-arrange her schedule to accommodate a detention after school where the student would have unstructured free time at his desk, he was able to work through the agitation and return to his class and academics recharged.

Another student, Dacari Crawford, 9, felt like he finally had some control over his interaction with his peers. He said:

When I get mad at something or somebody, I just take some deep breaths, keep doing my work and tune everyone out. It gives you good confidence when you need to do something important.”

Jamar Peete is an instructor from the Holistic Life Foundation ,and he teaches students at Robert W. Coleman Elementary self-discipline.

So, rather than get suspended or sent to the principal’s office for a referral, they [disruptive students] are sent to us where we can help them self-regulate themselves.”

The elementary school is not the only place where this kind of approach has been effective. 

One of the toughest high schools in SanFrancisco, where multiple fights broke out daily and dead bodies were once found in the school yard, tried this method about a decade ago and couldn’t believe the results. 

Vistacion Valley Middle School had a guided meditation program called Quiet Time. This simple approach of having the kids focus on their breathing and engage in some simple exercises dropped suspensions by 45% in a year, according to the Guardian. 

In an even greater achievement, the California Healthy Kids Survey found that students at Vistacion Valley Muddle school were the happiest in the city, despite their neighborhoods having some of the highest crime rates.

The primary goal of detention is to reform the student; get them to see the error of their ways and improve for next time. 

But helping the kids before they make the error is even more ideal, and empowering them to take control over their behavior for the betterment of the whole class gives them life lessons they can extend beyond the classroom. 

These programs give kids more than a boring hour they have to drudge through, they give them hope that tomorrow will be different.

The proof is in the pudding, and it would be nice to see public schools forgo a tired system in place of one that shows our children we believe in their strength to change. 

Please let us know in the comments section what you think about exchanging detention for guided moments of reflection.

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