Saturday School is too relaxed

October 27, 2012 — by Nick Chow

When I was in elementary school, I imagined high school to be an extremely intimidating place.

When I was in elementary school, I imagined high school to be an extremely intimidating place. When I went to various high school campuses for Friday night Chinese schools—lots of fun, I tell you—I would always feel insignificant running around in the labyrinth of hallways. But the scariest part was when I heard about detention, which, from my elementary school knowledge, was equivalent to serving time in prison.

But once I entered high school, I found the atmosphere to be much more enjoyable than what I had imagined. The new environment was much freer than middle school. And, there was no such thing as detention.

Well, almost. The closest thing to detention is Saturday school. When I had first heard of Saturday school in middle school, it sounded extremely intimidating. The actual logistics of Saturday school remained a mystery to me during middle school, since none of my friends actually got Saturday school.

But once I got to high school and some of my friends began getting Saturday school as punishment for their tardiness, I found out that Saturday school is about as intimidating as a lovable puppy. In fact, Saturday school is not a very effective punishment at all.

I have been informed by my friends who have received Saturday schools that it merely requires students to go to school on a Saturday morning from 8 a.m. to noon. During this time, the student must work on homework silently. Once the four hours end, the student is free to depart.
When I’ve asked my friends about their experiences in Saturday school as a result of their tardies adding up, they actually tell me that Saturday school went pretty well, because they were able to finish all of their weekend homework and were then free for the rest of the weekend.

While I think that it is good that Saturday school forces students to be proactive and helps combat procrastination, it does not act as much of a deterrent against tardiness, or anything else for that matter.

The purpose of a punishment is to give the student time to reflect on their wrongdoing and learn from the mistake. I would say that a Saturday school hardly serves to make students regret their misbehavior. Students who receive Saturday school generally don’t view Saturday school as much of a punishment because they get so much work done.

While minor transgressions such as tardiness do not merit extreme punishments, other more serious offenses do. In this instance, there are two options: Saturday school or suspension/expulsion.

The problem is that there is no middle ground. In many cases, a suspension would be too severe, but a Saturday school too relaxed.

A more effective punishment would be trash pickup, since that would help make the school cleaner and more attractive, all while reminding the student of his or her offenses. I, for one, cringe at the mere idea of having to clean up trash on campus as a punishment for transgressions, and it definitely would make me think before I ever broke another school rule.

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