Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The New Detention

My 12-year-old son has been spending lots of time in after-school detention lately. This is not a good thing.

In additon to seeing how we can slide through 6th grade doing as little work as possible, we are now exploring the realm of having a reserved seat in detention hall. Except that the tradtional after-school detention has gone new-age.

Instead of making children sit in a room writing things like "I will not release toads in the school hallway" 100 times, teachers now take a different approach.

Yesterday, he and a group of his friends (who were all in detention because of an incident involving throwing milk cartons) had to weed the school gardens. Since our school has a rather large agricultural curriculum associated with Michigan State University, this was no small task.

Detention now means that kids are put to work. It makes sense to me. Why have a bunch of kids with a lot of pent-up energy sit in a room when you can get some free labor out of them?

A couple of months ago, they apparently couldn't find any work for the detainees to complete. Instead, they had to listen to music. Classical music. This may not sound so bad to you or me. To a bunch of pre-teens, however, this is akin to Chinese water torture.

When they were done with the classical selections, they switched to music for preschoolers such as "The Barney Song" and the Teletubbies theme. I am surprised his ears were not bleeding when he got home.

I am hopeful that forced labor and tortuous musical therapy will have some positive affect on my son. In other words, he will hopefully straighten his behind out and not want to spend any more time listening to Raffi.

It hasn't worked yet, however. He has detention again this Thursday for taking his cell phone out in school.

I look forward to hearing what task was forced upon him this time. I hope it's cleaning the boys' bathrooms with q-tips.

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