Detentions at primary school

(102 Posts)
MiraCurtis Wed 15-May-19 19:42:17

Good evening All, My 10 years old DD suffered detention today for allegedly scratching another girl, although she swears it was an accident. Her punishment? Spending her lunch break sitting on a carpet facing the wall in the main access corridor outside the headteachers office in full view of anyone passing by. Can anyone please enlighten me on the use of this type of punishment? (irrespective of the level of misbehaviour) Is it common practice in primary schools as I was completely outraged by the use of such a humiliating method of punishing a young child.

OP’s posts: |
SadOtter Wed 15-May-19 20:22:45

Sitting outside the headteachers office is fairly normal although we have a bench outside ours for this purpose as sitting on the floor in a corridor someone would end up getting tripped up. We do use sitting on the carpet facing the wall in other rooms though so if their corridor is quite wide I can't see anything wrong with it.

moreismore Wed 15-May-19 20:25:00

This sounds old fashioned and pointless but probably unlikely to cause lasting harm (especially if you don’t escalate it). If she got a detention for something so minor it must be fairly common for her peers to get them too. I’d keep an eye on the ethos of the school as a whole though...

Soontobe60 Wed 15-May-19 20:26:55

Sounds draconian to me!

MiraCurtis Thu 16-May-19 10:47:43

@ Sadotter: so you think there is nothing wring with sitting in the corridor facing the wall? How would you feel if it was you? We live in Britain in 2019! To me its abuse 8f power towards a child, the fact that children are placed on the floor is "putting them diwn" morally, its an abuse.

OP’s posts: |
Youngandfree Thu 16-May-19 10:51:27

@MiraCurtis I agree with sitting on the floor I wouldn’t like it. A chair or bench would be more appropriate. What would you like to happen?

GinUp Thu 16-May-19 10:57:43

At our school, children are sometimes sent to sit outside the headteacher's office but it tends to be during class time. They are given work to do and have a desk to sit at.

A lunchtime detention would usually involve sitting in a classroom with a member of staff. Sitting on the floor in a corridor isn't something that I've ever seen used as a punishment.


SleepingStandingUp Thu 16-May-19 11:05:20

Well it seems a big punishment for a small scrath, I'd wonder what she isn't telling you.

And a child sat on the floor is not abuse.

Otterseatpuffinsdontthey Thu 16-May-19 11:08:33


PCohle Thu 16-May-19 11:13:44

I think you should be annoyed that your daughter has injured another child.

admission Thu 16-May-19 11:27:50

At the risk of being flamed for saying this. The school has a behaviour policy that it expects all of its pupils to follow. If OP your daughter has transgressed then she will be punished by the school and both you and your daughter need to accept that whilst on school premises you accept their policies around behaviour and their punishments. If you cannot accept their behaviour policy and what happens if a child transgresses then you need to find another school you are happy with.

Whether the school's punishment in this case is appropriate is an entirely different question. The school obviously feel that the scratch was not an accident and that the punishment is therefore justified. Personally I would not be happy with sitting facing the wall as a punishment, sitting outside the head's office I have no problem with but as I have said if that is the school's behaviour policy then the punishment has to be accepted.

MiraCurtis Thu 16-May-19 11:54:45

I think many have focussed on the scratch rather than my main question. I find this type of punishment is quite humiliating and dont think any child, irrelative of what he/she has done. This type of detention doesnt serve its purpose other than showing your power over a child and humiliation. I am horrified someone find this being acceptable.

OP’s posts: |
PCohle Thu 16-May-19 12:09:56

Disregarding the reason your child is being published is a little blinkered though, and is going to make you come over as BVU to the school.

The punishment isn't particularly different from the naughty step/time out. Is it the sitting on the floor bit you object to? Surely any punishment involves an element of an adult "showing their power" over a child?

RaininSummer Thu 16-May-19 12:11:41

It seems a very pointless punishment. I would prefer to see a child being kept in from their playtime but doing something useful but this would then need supervision by a member of staff which is probably why children are parked outside the office where they can be seen. It is difficult as if teachers set an educational task then that means learning becomes a punishment which is a bad message and I guess they aren't allowed to have them scrubbing the toilet floors with a toothbrush. Missing playtime does actually punish them and leave them time to reflect on their misdeed. If your girl actually didn't deliberately scratch the other girl then it is obviously unfair but that is hard to prove i guess.

McFrostyNuts Thu 16-May-19 12:13:51

This was normal in my primary school in the early 90's. I remember standing, facing the wall outside the headteachers office. I didn't feel anything other then regret that i'd done something that warranted punishment! Lol

Cottonwoolmouth Thu 16-May-19 12:19:51

It is humiliating. And I’d be really cross with that. They publicly sat her there as a warning to other children - she shouldn’t be used like that.

There are many other ways she could have sat that detention out.

I can’t understand the mentality some MN posters have that schools/teachers can never be criticised.

NorthernRunner Thu 16-May-19 12:24:16

I mean the point of a punishment is that it isn’t enjoyable...however I would hate this to happen to my daughter, sounds horrendous.

I don’t really have anything of use to offer OP, I do feel sorry for your DD though, especially if it was a genuine accident that she hurt the other girl.

ChessIsASport Thu 16-May-19 12:24:18

I don’t really see anything wrong with this. Punishments are supposed to be unpleasant or what would be the point? My children would be devastated to have to sit outside the head teacher’s office (facing the wall or not). Therefore, they don’t break the rules. If they did I wouldn’t complain about them being punished in this way.

What do you think would work as a punishment and deterrent? The embarrassment factor works well as a deterrent but is there something else that would also work?

PCBananaHammock Thu 16-May-19 12:27:53

Speak to the Head teacher and ask for the full story. I cannot see that your child was put there for just a scratch. Bottom line is, the school have expectations of behaviour and will have a behaviour policy which they expect all children to follow, with sanctions if they don't. If you and your child do not accept the way they do things there you will need to find another school IMO, as they are unlikely to change their practices due to you not liking them. Then your daughter may find herself in that situation again if she continues behaving in a way contrary to their behaviour policy. Honestly, I think you're being a little precious banging on about how humiliating it is. She shouldn't have done what she did if she didn't want to be punished.

viques Thu 16-May-19 12:31:25

OP putting aside for a moment your belief that your daughter did not scratch another child deliberately then what punishment do you think is appropriate for a child that injures another? Obviously an apology is in order, but the child who has hurt another child also needs to understand that their behaviour has been inappropriate, they need to reflect on this and have time to think about it.

GreenTulips Thu 16-May-19 12:32:10

Wait till high school and it’s all day

fedup21 Thu 16-May-19 12:34:28

This wouldn’t bother me at all. She has scratched someone and is getting a punishment. If she feels ashamed of what she did, that’s good and maybe she will think twice next time.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Thu 16-May-19 12:36:43

She's 10 so not a young child.

Not humiliating that I can see. It was quite normal when I was at school but that was very much not 2019...

Dermymc Thu 16-May-19 12:38:35

She's 10 not a baby.

She deserves to be humiliated if she injured another child.

The way you write implies this isn't the first time.

Rather than focusing on the punishment, perhaps focus on sorting your child's behaviour.

What would your alternative punishment be?

Cottonwoolmouth Thu 16-May-19 12:41:08

viques the child could have been

Asked to write a letter of apology

Asked to right x amount of reasons why we are not to hurt any body

Asked to write how the other child might be feeling after being hurt.

Asked to sit on chair by the office and think about what they did.

A public shaming is not necessary or constructive.

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