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Detention - Yay or Nay?

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Yasin's avatar
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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 14th November 2022 09:50
Assalamu Alaykum,

I am the developer of a very big Madrasah management software that was shared on this forum as well with an official account.

Within the software we have given the ability to submit and track feature requests. One of the features requested today is a tricky one because it goes against my strong opinion about detentions in schools. The feature is to log and record detentions given to students and provide stats and actions.

The issue:

Detention is keeping a student behind after school hours in a room writing lines or simply remaining silent. Some provide videos to watch during the hour detention.

I believe detentions should be abolished in schools altogether. This isn't a new belief, I've always felt this way. I always told my kids never to worry about detention because the school will never get my permission for it. In schools they give out detentions nowadays for unjustifiable reasons and many times for personal reasons rather than policies or rule breaking. I have spoken to kids about this who explain in detail how even asking a question can get you detention.

Now I understand that in Madrasah the reasons will be justified and legitimate but here are my reasons for being against detention:

  1. Detention was created as a form of micro-imprisonment.
  2. The purpose is to take away freedom.
  3. To get that slight control above parents to keep their child after their allocated hours.
  4. I believe it's a form of torture as it's lengthy. An hour in a child's life is a lot.
  5. I believe it disheartens the child rather than teach a lesson.
  6. It's not from the history of Islam to do this to children no matter what they did.
  7. There are better alternatives that can achieve the purpose without causing damages that detention can cause.
  8. Teachers should act as educators, not disciplinarians for their students (online debate).


Prisons are known to do harm to the detained if the detained is not handled with proper guidelines like the ones set in Islam. School detention is similar. Many come out worse. School detention is not different. In various polls most answered that detention didn't change anything for them.

How it should be handled in my opinion as a replacement for detention:

  1. If the school has break times (play time) then take that away to complete homework or do extra worksheets. If it's an Islamic school then watch videos on Adaab/Akhlaaq or get a teacher to teach it who monitors detention.
  2. Suspend some privileges.
  3. Give extra responsibilities.
  4. If the child is disruptive, get the parents involved and give warnings of suspension because no parent wants their child to lose out. At the end of the day, a trouble maker does not deserve more attention than those who want to learn.
  5. I have used, "I can have you expelled and we'll all move on and the only one that loses out will be you. Are you sure you want to continue on this path?" and it has worked probably because the attention is taken away to a degree by simply implying they're no more special than others.


The purpose of posting this is to get actual feedback so I can consider the feature request for the management system. Jazakumullah
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 14th November 2022 10:04
wa'alaykumus salaam warahmatullah
I do agree that detention is fruitless. I do not give detention myself as it would just waste my time and theirs becasue there is no benefit. Giving lines at home deters them more as it takes away from their free time and meeting with mum to discuss taking away some privilege works wonders (for a while anayway)

I have to say though that I do disagree with the first thee of the reasons given for being against detention - can these reasons be true even in schools?

Quote:

Detention was created as a form of micro-imprisonment.
The purpose is to take away freedom.
To get that slight control above parents to keep their child after their allocated hours.

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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 14th November 2022 13:22
I can explain:

Detention was created as a form of micro-imprisonment.

This is based on the meaning and definition of detention. Pretty much in every way.

The purpose is to take away freedom.

This was described as the punishment. There are actual debates whether school detentions actually infringe human rights. I don't know about human rights but it does for sure take away freedoms for the duration I don't think anyone can deny that.

To get that slight control above parents to keep their child after their allocated hours.

Western governments and councils have been doing this for almost a century. From social services, schools, local authority and even the national health service have tried to take as much control of your child as possible. Imagine a father or mother not allowing the child to stay behind after school hours and being told they have a legal right to detain your child because he didn't do his homework or spoke back? Again I feel that this is one of those things in arsenal of obsessions to control.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 14th November 2022 14:29
Detentions don't help. Many innocent students get detained for nothing.

Some prefer to get detention to stay away from home/family or to miss after school lessons/classes/Madrasah etc.

Detention/punishment should be such that the parent/carer is made aware of then the student should be told that their parent/carer has/will be informed. Thereafter, certain privileges from the student should be taken away and/or given a task to do that they dislike.

Certain schools have a detention policy and at the same time they have intervention sessions too, where the student is taken out of the class and placed in a room away from all other students but under supervision of a teacher to do their work. However, I know that this also doesn't work. I've come across students who prefer to be put into these interventions sessions in order to stay away from the class, in fact, I know of students who request their parents to tell the teachers to have them placed under intervention. Clearly, this doesn't work.
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