High school to go to Saturday detention

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Tami Williamson, a freshman at Moffat County High School, says she's never had a detention.

And with Saturday detentions beginning this weekend, she said she's going to make sure her streak continues.

"I think it will make me more careful," she said. "I've never had a detention but it will make me more cautious. I don't want to be here on a Saturday."

The idea of "I don't want to be here on Saturday" is what MCHS faculty is hoping will deter future misbehavior at the school.

Freshman Carrie O'Brien said the change has her attention.

"It's a waste of a perfectly good Saturday," she said.

Beginning at 9 a.m. this Saturday, MCHS students who have been issued a detention will have to report to school that morning.

Jessie Farr, MCHS assistant principal, said the previous detention, which was after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays, was not working.

"It wasn't a deterrent," she said. "It was a social time for the students."

Farr said she worked in another school system that used Saturday detention.

"It was effective," she said. "Kids don't want to give up their Saturdays."

Farr estimated that right now about 20 students are usually in the after school detention.

She estimated that number would likely decrease to 10 students when they start having to come in on Saturday.

Freshman dean Kip Hafey said the idea is to discipline students during "their" time on the weekends, so educational programs are not disrupted during the week.

"We needed something that would be more effective," he said. "I think this will be good for the school and the kids."

It's important that students will be required to do homework under the supervision of teachers in Saturday detention, he said.

"Saturday detention will provide a positive, worthwhile learning experience," he said.

Detention will be held twice a month at MCHS, beginning this Saturday.

It will begin promptly at 9 a.m. and will last until 3 p.m.

Some students might have to only stay three hours, and some will have to stay all day, depending on the severity, or frequency of, their misbehavior, Farr said.

If a student skips a scheduled Saturday detention, he or she will be required to bring a parent or guardian to meet with the dean or assistant principal on the Monday morning after the Saturday the student missed.

If the student does not bring his or her parent, they will be put on "in-house suspension" at school, in which they are provided their learning material and sit in one room all day, not attending any classes.

Farr said all parents of students who are supposed to attend Saturday detention would be called ahead of time for a reminder.

"We want to make personal contact with every parent so they know about it," she said. "We don't want any surprises. There should be no excuses for missing."

Most students roaming the grounds after school Thursday said they did not like the idea of their Saturday's being spent in school.

"I think we have to be at school enough," said junior Cara Hettinger.

But because that weekend time is so precious to students it just might be why the new system will work, Farr said.

"Having them make up time on a Saturday makes sense to me," she said of the time wasted during the school week because of misbehavior.

Stacey Behrman, waiting in the parking lot after school to pick up her two children who attend MCHS, said neither of them gets detentions, and said she hadn't given the Saturday detention proposal much thought.

"When I heard about it I felt bad for teachers that had to spend a Saturday at school," she said. "But if they think it's going to have more impact on the kids then it's a good thing to have."

When junior Kristin Cortez first heard about the new plan, memories of a hit 1980s movie popped in her mind.

"It reminded me of the 'Breakfast Club,'" she said.

Josh Nichols can be reached at 824-7031 or jnichols@craigdailypress.com.

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