Detention Deterrence: Saturday detentions keep students from skipping


Mary-Kathryn Wert

Due to an increase in skipped detentions last school year, Dean of Students Alex Keith implemented Saturday detentions.

Elaina Gibson, Staff Writer

While some sleep in on Saturday, Dean of Students Alex Keith spends his morning overseeing Saturday detentions: cleaning up the school, servicing the Miege community and building a connection with the students.

Keith noticed that too many students were skipping detentions last year, due to no repercussions. The administrative team also noticed incidences where detention was not a fair punishment for the offenses, but a suspension was too harsh. He decided to start Saturday detentions as an in-between consequence that would lessen the numbers of detentions missed as well. 

“It holds students accountable, we expect every student to make a mistake, and it’s not about eradicating mistakes, but it’s about holding students accountable to their actions,” Keith said.

To earn a Saturday detention, students have to skip three regular detention slots. By October last year there had been around 190 assigned detentions and over 20 skipped detentions, according to Keith. In contrast, this year he said there have been 157 and one person has skipped. 

“I think that knowing if you skip a detention and have to come in on a Saturday and do one is a deterrent,” Keith said.

During previous Saturday detentions this fall, students have cleaned around the stadium after the Rockhurst game, and assisted setting up for basketball coach Terry English’s funeral. 

But it doesn’t matter what Keith and the students are doing for Keith to try and build connections with them. 

“It’s not just time spent picking up trash, but that I can make contact with that student, ask them about their life and ask how things are going, and hopefully over the course of two hours have a conversation,” Keith said. 

The most common reasons for detention include, being late to school and class, disrespect towards a teacher or student and dress code violations. According to Keith, everybody makes mistakes, but to avoid earning a detention students should try to avoid doing the small things wrong. 

“Little things matter,” Keith said, “If you are focused on doing the little things right then you will do the big things right too.”