Culture of dentention varies for students

By Vanessa Landa

Throughout my entire school career I have been detention-free up until now: second semester of my senior year. Unfortunately, senioritis caught up to me, making me ditch several of my classes. The Attendance Office realized my absences and gave me a Saturday detention. I did not know what to expect and also did not want to go early on a Saturday morning. But it turns out it was not really all that bad.

Being in school for seven hours, five days a week is enough for some students. Unfortunately for some, their day does not end at 2:55 due to detention.

According to Ms. Lesiak, detention is used as a consequence for students not following certain CPS guidelines like attendance, which includes cutting class and tardies. The environment that detention is trying to create is for students to take school seriously and study. Not all of the students see this.

“The detention environment seems hostile to me,” said Alondra Nevarez, 025. “Detention is made to be seen as boring as possible so you won’t want to get another one.”

“Detention is trying to be made [to be]seen as punishment, but in reality it is not,” said Victor Flores, Div. 167. “[The person in charge] usually let you out early and let you talk but not too loud.”

This is not normal procedure according to most security guards.

“The security is there to promote a safe and secure environment by enforcing school rules and regulations,” said security guard, Mrs. Jackson.

There are differences between the strictness at an after school detention compared to a Saturday. After school detention lasts for 46 minutes, while the Saturday detention lasts for four hours, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday detentions are used for more serious infractions. Students also have different experiences between and after school and a Saturday.

“When I went to after school [detention] I saw people signing in and just leaving,” said Orlando Jimenez, Div. 054. “The lady [in charge] didn’t even care.”

“During my after school detention, I tried sitting next to my friend but they didn’t let me,” said Flores. “They basically didn’t let you have fun.”

During Saturday detentions students feel there is more freedom than during after school.

“When I went on a Saturday during the winter there was this kid that opened the window and left through it,” said Flores. “He came back 15 minutes later with donuts. The security didn’t even notice him gone.”

“During Saturday detentions, you are allowed to talk, eat, sleep, and listen to music,” said Kasey Diep, Div. 054. “It all just depends on who is running it.”

According to Mrs. Jackson, if a student is caught sleeping in detention, they are given an additional Saturday detention.

During my time in detention, I was let out early due to good behavior. Jimenez points out a different way he was let out of detention early.

“The lady there gave us each a different fairly easy question. If we answered it right then we got to leave. If not we stayed for the whole thing.”

There are also other ways to leave detention early.

“A writing teacher came into the lunchroom and asked who wanted to take a writing workshop class,” said Lisbet Montoyo, Div. 267. “A bunch of us went with her and got some snacks and she let us out early. Plus we learned some stuff about writing.”

“I had a Saturday detention one time but when I went to it I showed them a paper from one of my AP teachers about a study session being held that same Saturday,” said an anonymous student, Div. 158. “The security then let me skip that detention I had.”

Ms. Lesiak says that if a student does not go to detention, they are called into the Attendance Office, asked why they did not show, and are rescheduled a new detention. This was not the case with Andres Jacome, Div. 045.

“They gave me after school detention everyday for two weeks straight and I didn’t show up to any of the days. They didn’t do anything.”

“If a student doesn’t show up to the rescheduled Saturday detention, they then receive two additional Saturdays,” said Ms. Lesiak. “If they still don’t show for those it can lead to an in-school suspension and a parent conference.”

For my Saturday detention, I pretty much did nothing. I did see people talk, some were dancing, and one person even brought in their laptop. The security guard did not really mind only if it got really loud. It was, though, a waste of time.

Even though I was bored out of my mind at my detention, it was understandable why detention is that way. I violated the attendance policy and deserved to be punished. If people do something wrong what they did can not be ignored. There should be consequences.