Blake’s detention dilemma

Does the sharp price of detention really line up with missing five homerooms?


Lucy Nelson, Arts & Cultures Editor

Five. Five mornings a student can arrive tardy to homeroom before they receive an hour of detention. Five mornings of accidentally oversleeping an alarm, getting stuck behind the old man who’s driving ten miles per hour. Five mornings of extending your morning teeth brushing out of respect for your peers, not being able to find the keys, or even just catching your breath from all the stress in your life.

Now I’m not saying that I don’t love meeting with our homerooms every morning. Rather, I believe it’s okay if I don’t see one of my homies’ beautiful faces at 7:50 or 8:20 am on the dot every day. “I mean, homeroom is only like five minutes long.” Sophie Singer ‘16 comments, “It’s not like we do anything– we just sit there. And I would understand if you had detention if you were late to a first period, but it’s not. It’s like this weird thing in the morning that doesn’t make any sense.” There is also a thirty minute period of homeroom time every Wednesday and students are assigned to seating in assembly by homeroom so bonding is definitely not the main issue.

This topic also generates controversy about the unfairness of how one’s homeroom teacher deals with missed homerooms. “It’s the luck of the draw,” Katerina Papanikolopoulos ‘17 admits, “I’m literally late all the time but that’s because my guy is Dion so if I go late he’s like ‘that’s okay,’ but if I had someone else I would be late more.” Like Papanikolopoulos, I am lucky enough to have a homeroom teacher who often will let it slide if one of us misses a homeroom, as long as we text in our homeroom group text that we’re going to be late. This system has created a level of trust amongst our homeroom that makes us even closer. My sister, on the other hand, is not allowed to be even a minute late and this causes a lot of sisterly tension and yelling in the mornings. Additionally, it incentivizes me to instinctively drive faster– a dangerous and irresponsible solution in attempt to get her to homeroom on time and save myself from the wrath of my mother. Other students find themselves doing this as well, as Daniel Shan ‘15 states, “I definitely step on the gas if I’m late.” It’s understandable for the school to make sure you are in the building for safety reasons, but is it really safer if students are speeding to school?

Going to a rigorous school like Blake is stressful enough, and starting off the day knowing you’re one step closer, or have just received a detention does not cater to that stress. Two hours of time spent without phones, naps, and computers, which contain 99% of student’s homework, is really quite pointless. Some kids have to miss sports practices, and as a consequence, might not even be able to play in the next game. Detention is obviously an important concept, as part-time detention proctor Janet Williams explains, “I think it’s important to go to homeroom and I think it’s important to go to class and detention is trying to move people in that direction and trying to get them to go to homeroom and to go to class. It’s the system that the deans and the administration have said is the best system to do that.” However, as a consequence for being late to a five minute period for one-tenth of the days of a quarter seems a little obscene.

This rings especially true since many of the tardies sprout from things out of our control. Jonas Kelb ‘17 explains the reasoning for his lateness, “One time we got in a car crash and the other times my host siblings are late.” Singer has the same dilemma with late rides as she claims, “Well my parents drive me to school because I don’t have car and so usually it’s just because they’re leaving late.”

Why not just leave earlier? For some of the seven billion imperfect people in this world, time is just not their strong suit. As Papanikolopoulos states, “I’m just a slow person.”

She concludes by saying, “Okay, I get that it’s homeroom but morning is a special time.” Mornings are special indeed and ruining them with the negative incentive of detention is not a chipper way to start off the day.