No More Detention


Lexi Parker and Cooper Sammartano


Different schools around the world have different methods for dealing with students who misbehave. Some of these schools focus on punishment, while others use unique strategies, often centered around the idea of rehabilitation. One such school is the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School in Baltimore, Maryland. In cooperation with the Holistic Life Foundation, this school has replaced detention with meditation sessions, and it has been shown to yield successful results.

Many students who have participated in meditation sessions have shown great improvement in many areas. For example, the overall stress level of some of these students seemed to drop significantly. They would even encourage others to take part in meditation to relieve stress.

According to Andres Gonzalez, co-founder of the Holistic Life Foundation, a student said to their parent, “…Hey, Mom, you need to sit down. I need to teach you how to breathe” (James Gaines, This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning. Upworthy). This shows how the students are taking the meditation seriously and are applying it to their everyday life. This can also help to improve a student’s attention span. By allowing students to have a “mindful moment room”, they are able to reflect upon their actions and emotions.

The Mindful Moment Room allows for students to do breathing exercises and have discussions with a counselor. They are also instructed on how to properly manage their emotions. Taking the time to look back can help the students understand the situation and prevent something similar from happening in the near future. This also allows students to calm down and create a peaceful mindset for themselves. However, relieving stress and talking about emotions are not the only benefits of this new system.

In the schools that have incorporated this program, allowing students to participate in meditation sessions has helped the rate of detentions to decrease. From the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, Kirk Phillips, the coordinator of the foundation, stated, “There have been exactly zero suspensions last year, and this year so far” (James Gaines, This school replaced detention with meditation. The results are stunning., Upworthy). This shows how the practice of meditation is actively working within this school. The success rate that has been shown here can be compared to the idea that rehabilitation is more effective than punishment.

Mrs. Smith, a teacher at Ipswich High School, has occasionally allowed students the opportunity to meditate. When she does this, the students are usually inexperienced or have never participated in meditation before. Despite Mrs. Smith’s enthusiasm towards this practice, she stated, “For this to work, students would have to be invested and bought into this idea, but I feel like many would just roll their eyes at it”. Although some teachers may believe that it wouldn’t be a success on the student’s part, others would be concerned about the experience held by the teachers. Mr. Ames, for example, says that “It sounds like a good idea in theory, but the teachers would need to know what they’re doing. The students might not take anything away from the meditation if the instructor isn’t trained for it.” Even though some assume that there are flaws in this system, it could be more beneficial than they would think; This allows the students to improve themselves by doing this, rather than staring at a blank classroom wall.

Despite the age difference between students in elementary and high school, implementing the program into Ipswich High School’s curriculum could possibly yield positive results. An anonymous student at Ipswich High School explains that, from her point of view, “Meditation could be helpful for a student that may have acted out as a result of stress. I do martial arts, so I know that it can be very beneficial.” The younger students were able to effectively use their time while participating in meditation. Why wouldn’t high schoolers be able to do the same? If they were able to use this practice to relieve stress and understand their emotions, the outcome could be much greater than one would assume.

Elementary students have been given the opportunity to meditate rather than serve time in detention. The results from their meditation sessions were outstanding, allowing them to take a step back and breathe. This outcome could be just as great for current high school students, and could potentially drop the rates of detentions and suspensions.