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Fair Lunch Detention?

By KATE SANTILLAN, Contributing Writer

May 23, 2019

At the beginning of this school year (2018-2019) NBTHS students started receiving lunch detention if they were even one minute late to homeroom. Throughout the year, the topic of whether or not this was a fair consequence to the students has been sparked countless times amongst the students. Many different opinions about the matter have been posed but the big question many students have is, is it fair?

Many students get frustrated having to get a lunch detention because they won’t be able to sit with their friends or be able to be on their cellular device. When a student is put in lunch detention, they sit in a room right next to the new cafeteria with their belongings and their food. They must sit there and be quiet for the whole period; no talking to anyone, no using their cellphone, no nothing. A student may, however, work on their homework or anything for a class as long as it is school appropriate. Generally it is not a fun time but perhaps it may be useful to some students.

There are many times where a student is late and it may not be their fault. Not everyone has the best car, accessible transportation, or even an appropriate living environment. However, a lot of times students do have the tendency to oversleep, miss the bus, take their time walking, or simply not care. The case is different for every student; but a lot of them seem to think that whatever the situation may be, they will get lunch detention no matter what. Students assume that teachers are not understanding or sympathetic when it comes to getting to school, that is mostly false.

Ms. Barkley is the Attendance Counselor at NBTHS and she handles anything having to do with a students' attendance, hence the name. She has been around the school for quite some time so she understands how students work by this point. Many lie, exaggerate, or try too hard to get out of anything. Others seem to just take the consequence as it is.

When asked when this lunch detention given for lates started, Ms. Barkley answered “It started this year but I have done it before, 5 years ago. I was a dean from 2003-2015 and we had it then. Every four lates was a referral. It was when we had instructional deans when the students got away with [the lates].” She goes on to explain “I think it’s appropriate because the amount of lates has significantly decreased since we started it again. Kids like to have lunch with their friends so when that is taken from them, they tend to show up to school a little earlier.” She was then asked how would she handle a situation like this if her child was in the position of a student whose time of arrival was in their hands, she answered with “if you ask any kid who has had lunch detention, they’ll tell you they have gotten a free pass at least once. I take it as a case by case basis, whether a tire fell out, the student came in not feeling well, kids have gotten a free [pass] at least once. I think I’m pretty fair. “

Students lack the knowledge of how far Ms. Barkley’s sympathy goes and act as if she was the one creating the rules. Barkley explains “Administration and the person who carries it out created this system. I think that it runs well because I’m consistent; I’m never out. Twelve years in a row without an absence. Even so, the students get at least 5 chances before they get into any actual trouble. Don’t go to the lunch detention, go to the one the next day. Don’t go to that one, go to the after school detention the next week. Don’t go to that then it's the next after school detention. Don’t even show up to that, then you get a community service Saturday detention. When you don’t show up to that, you get OSS and now you’re in trouble. The detentions don’t go on your transcript or conduct, the only way to get anything like that on your transcript is if you missed the other five chances.”

Overall, the system for lunch detentions seems completely fair and not harmful towards any students' transcript at all. Students would have to go out of their way to actually get something out of one late. Students should not take lunch detention as a punishment, but as a lesson that being to school on time is important.


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