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School detention

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Detention is an aspect of school discipline and classroom discipline and is one of the most common punishments in schools in the United States, Britain, Ireland, Singapore and other countries. It requires the pupil to remain in school at a given time in the school day (such as lunch, recess or after school) -- or even to attend school on a non-school day, e.g. "Saturday detention" held at some US schools.[1] During detention, students normally have to sit in a classroom and do work, write lines or a punishment essay, stand in the corner and face the wall with your hands behind your back or in front of you, or sit quietly. Sometimes, students are required to participate in a work detail, doing various tasks such as picking up trash, mopping floors, or cleaning. In the UK, the Education Act 1997 obliges a school to give parents at least 24 hours' notice of a detention outside school hours.[2] Reasons for a detention are typically relatively minor disruption; serious or violent behaviors are generally punished more harshly. Many schools first give detention at recess or at lunch and then, if a student misbehaves again, an after-school or weekend detention may be given.

Some secondary schools in southern U.S. states offer a corporal punishment option as an alternative to detention. If the student chooses to be paddled instead of having after-school detention, it avoids having to arrange transport after the school bus has gone, which can cause difficulties for parents. Other times, the student does not have a choice or is given both a paddling and detention.


  1. School discipline and exclusions,,, retrieved on 25 January 2009 
  2. Behaviour and discipline, Department for Children, Schools and Families,, retrieved on 25 January 2009 
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