Is it illegal to keep students after the bell is a question that depicts how teachers keep students late and whether it is legal under the law? Bells are an essential factor in a school since it announces to the school’s students and staff the beginning and end of class, breaks, lunches, and school ends.
Teachers in school today are known to keep students after the bell. It is exceptionally agonizing for the students when it’s time for taking a break from class but it really is not illegal to keep students after the bell due to the simple law of “Loco Parentis.”
What is the ‘LOCO PARENTIS’ Doctrine?
‘Loco Parentis’ is a Latin word that means ‘in the place of a parent.’ It is a doctrine that has been widely adopted in schools for many years. It applies primarily to students under 18 years, which means students in Kindergarten, Primary Schools, and High Schools. These are students that by law are not of the legal age to make decisions on their own accord.
In this doctrine, the parent or guardian gives a school the right to teach, ensure students’ safety and overall well-being for the parent or guardian. The school, therefore, takes over the responsibility and authority of the parent when they are not present to decide what is in the kids’ best interest when they are in school.
What does ‘LOCO PARENTIS’ really cover?
a) Educating the students
The school is given the right to educate the students according to the set curriculum and as they see fit.
b) Ensure the safety of the students during school hours
The school is responsible for ensuring the students are safe from any external dangers that might cause harm to them, like medical emergencies, terrorism, etc., that would put them in danger.
c) Discipline and Overall behavior of the students
Schools have the right to punish students that do not abide by the set rules in the school environment. Under the “Loco Parentis” doctrine, parents have given the school the responsibility of setting and enforcing school rules that will help the student follow simple instructions given to them. Instilling discipline will help students cope well when they find themselves in a work environment.
THE GENEVA CONVENTION LAW
According to Article 33 of the Geneva Convention, a person should not be punished for a crime that they did not commit. This law seems to apply when a teacher detains the entire class or collective punishments because of one or two students.
The Geneva Convention law only applies to times of war and conflict and does not apply to students. There are several reasons why a teacher might keep the student after the bell. To get a clear picture, we will discuss the reasons below.
Reasons Why a teacher may keep students after the school bell
Students with disciplinary cases in school find themselves on the detention list. Detention is a form of punishment for students, where the school requires them to remain behind in class after school hours.
They are not allowed to talk or socialize while in detention but to complete class assignments. The primary purpose of detention is to replace desirable activities like going home and spending time with friends with unpleasant boredom.
b) Finishing Up a Topic on a Lesson after the Bell Rings
There are specific topics and deadlines that a teacher tries to achieve in each class. If they are not done with the deadlines they had set for that class, the teacher will likely hold students until she is comfortable with what she wants to achieve for a few minutes. The average maximum time teachers are allowed to do this without disrupting the school timetable is 10 to 15 minutes per class.
c) Passing Urgent Information to the Students
Information like homework or urgent school activities that could not be communicated in the school notice boards are usually done by teachers in class after the bell rings.
d) Safety Purposes
During school, there are situations where safety emergencies like a gunman shooter or Fire might occur. In such instances, teachers have the right to assess the situation and the right course of action to hold the child in the class to avoid danger.
Reasons Not to Keep Students After the School Bell
As much as there are reasons for keeping many students after the final bell, it sometimes inconveniences them in cases where;
a) They need to get to the next class on time without the student getting late.
b) Not being able to get to their transport be it school bus or public transport.
c) Not having ample time to eat lunch or missing lunch altogether.
d) The child being denied the freedom to interact with other friends leaves them demotivated.
e) Receiving punishments from other teachers because of being late for class.
Limits to How far a School’s Power Reaches during School Hours
As much as the school has the administrative right to detain a child after the bell, they have a right not to follow such detention requirements. The school cannot legally force a student to be detained after class. However, the school can impose off-campus suspension where the student will not be allowed within the school premises for some time. Parents also have a right to protest the detention of their kids if they feel it was not deserved.
The timing of the detentions also has limits according to the law. Detention that lasts 1 to 2 hours is legal, but others that go for almost six hours are illegal. Lengthy detentions are an overly extreme punishment that no teacher has a right to exercise on any student.
Schools are also not allowed to be spank or cause any physical form of abuse to the children. They are allowed to punish but not to the extent of causing bodily harm. Detentions and other non-lethal punishments are not illegal under the law. To Physically force or physically abuse a child could however force parents to take legal action against the school principal.
Private schools and Public Schools have different ideas on handling holding students after the bell. The individual institutions’ school board usually comes up with rules about keeping students after the bell and when a teacher dismisses them to leave school. They also develop school day activities and timings that schools follow to the letter.
Most schools form independently selected committees that draft up and print weekly newsletters to give the parents. They explain what to expect from the students in and out of the classroom and what is expected of the parents.
Punishment is also mentioned and emphasized as a big deal to let the parent know the seriousness of following the rules in school at all times. In case of detention, parents are informed on picking up their children after the teacher dismisses them.
Is it Illegal to Keep Students After the Bell in school with the new social norms
In conclusion, It is not illegal for a teacher to keep students after the bell because of the ‘Loco Parentis’ doctrine. It gives the school the legal right to act on behalf of the parent, provide education and look after the children while in school.
As much as the school has also been given this right, they shouldn’t abuse ‘Loco Parentis’ power. They cannot force a whole class to remain behind but should give out separate reasonable punishments, like in-school suspension, that will hold students after the bell rings according to the school’s own rules. It will ensure that students become disciplined by following the instructions given by teachers.
The school’s principal and teachers work in unison to ensure that the student’s well-being is met in the absence of the parent.
Parents should also realize that they have the legal right to protest against any injustice they see happening to their young ones. They should also provide contact information like a valid email address and telephone numbers to the school where a teacher can reach them if any issue arises.