Giving students detention means they must stay late after school or miss recess so that they may understand the consequences of their wrongful actions. Detention is nothing new, and thousands of schools use it when a child violates a school rule. However, detention may not actually help students. Sitting in an empty class after school doesn’t seem like a positive way to help a student understand what they did and why it was wrong. However, one school in Baltimore, Maryland has changed the way students who violate school rules are treated.
In a report by CNN, a Baltimore elementary school has replaced detention with meditation. The school has been using meditation for three years and says that the program has helped numerous children reduce their behavioral problems. A video shows students sitting on yoga mats, breathing deeply. This small exercise is shown to help people relax and let go of unnecessary stress. One little girl in the video claims it has made her “feel happy” when she actively participates in meditation. According to facility and staff at the Robert W. Coleman Elementary School, kids become mellower after meditating. Carlillan Thompson, the school’s principal, suggests, “The students having an opportunity to meditate…deals with them looking inside of themselves, taking that energy that’s negative and refocusing it into something that’s very positive.”
Students at the West Baltimore elementary school start off each day with 15 minutes of guided meditation and stretching. The school even provides students yoga classes after school is over. If a student misbehaves, rather than give them detention, the children are sent to a meditation room where trained staff help them breathe and relax.
Baltimore continues to be rated as one of the top 10 most dangerous cities. Principal Thompson understands that growing up in a tough neighborhood isn’t the best for these young students, so suspending them isn’t going to solve anything if they’ll just be hanging around these dangerous places. That is how the meditation room came to be.
One child said it best: “Sometimes when I will get angry at a person, I do the stress breath and it calms you down in any situation in life.” Maybe other schools should look into meditation as a form of discipline.