challenges of parenthood, detention in New Zealand, Lani Young, samoa blog, teenagers

It’s gotta hurt.

Like a kick in the butt…

JB was a BAD boy and got put on detention yesterday at his high school. He had chosen to turn his nose up at wearing the regulated black school shoes and instead he wore some other pair of sloppy footwear. “Everybody else does it!” he whined.

But some dutiful prefect busted him. And as punishment ( DRUMROLL PLEASE) – he was given a piece of paper with the school dress code on it and a passage on why it was ethically and morally wrong to break it. He had to bring the paper home and copy it word for word on a piece of A4, have me sign it, then return it to the front desk and pop it in a box. That was it. That was the full sum and total of his punishment.

I was flabbergasted. Excuse me?! In what parallel universe does writing a few sentences on a bit of paper actually constitue as DETENTION? What the heck is he going to learn from that, may I ask? What the heck kind of suffering is paragraph writing?

Now, I know that the days of caning students and knocking them about with a yardstick are long gone. That such practises are illegal, inhumane and quite rightly relegated to the dungeons of ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE. But honestly, what kid is going to dread detention if there isnt some measure of discomfort and irritation involved?

Why, back in the dayzzz at SamCo, we would weed, cut grass with a bush knife, clean the toilets ( Ugh..i feel nauseaous 20 years later just thinking abt that one), wipe windows and sweep classrooms. Three detentions and we would get Hard Labour. Which would usualy be triple doses of any or all of the above. We HATED detention. We LOATHED it. We FEARED it. It was hard work. And humiliating – as power hungry prefects lorded over us with gleeful smiles. Yes, sure people still broke the rules once in a while. But when they did, they knew they had a price to pay.

I ask you – how can any school rules really have any OOMPH in them if they have such wimpy consequences? Whats going to happen if he does something really awful? Like swear at a teacher? Will they make him write a whole essay maybe? Oooooh thats scary! OR list 101 reasons why he shouldnt say bad words? Ouch, that really hurts!

I dont know. Is this a reason why theres so many teenagers running around here doing whatever the heck they please at school? I go to JB’s school and Im surrounded by kids who throw out ripples of F-words even though a teacher is right in front of them. I see couples getting passionately passionate in the hallway, in the canteen, in the classroom – totaly oblivious to whos around them. (and the Samoan in me is screaming, ‘Oka ka’i makaga! Smack them!’

I’ve decided. Next time JB gets school detention, it’s gotta hurt. Im going to make him – scrub the toilet with a toothbrush, cut the grass with a dinner knife and dig a hole to China with a fork.

And THEN write a essay about it.