Is It Illegal to Keep Students After School?

Some teachers don’t know what respect is. They think that, just because they have the power to keep students after school, they should. They should get better at managing their time and teaching within their time limits. Instead, they pretend the time limits don’t exist. Which is a problem for many students.

Running late means potentially missing your autobus or other means of transportation. Or maybe you have a doctor’s appointment or another type of visit. But the teacher doesn’t care and keeps you in school after the bell has rung.

Do teachers actually have that power? Can they legally do it, or is it a matter of perceived authority?

We know that schools have some of the parenting burden when students are there. It’s called in loco parentis, a Latin expression that means “in place of parents”. But that doesn’t mean they have complete authority over you.

Teachers can hold you after school, but not for long. There is no specification of time in the law though, so it’s a grey area. Ideally, teachers should never need more than a couple of minutes after the bell’s ring to finish the lesson and let students leave. But we don’t live in an ideal world, and some teachers refuse to acknowledge that students have a life outside school.

Also, some teachers do it to punish their students.

In this article, we are going to learn what the law says about this situation, and tell you what are your rights in this regard. We’ll also give you an interpretation of when it’s ok to defy teacher authority. If you have a good reason to do so, you shouldn’t feel sorry about ignoring their order.

What the law says

It’s not illegal to hold students. The law clearly states that teachers are allowed to hold students for safety reasons, such as school shootings or earthquakes or other life-threatening situations.

But what about more ordinary situations? This is where the fun begins.

It’s perfectly legal to hold students for up to an hour after school. It’s a punishment that is allowed by the law, since it’s not corporal, nor traumatizes the student. Showing students the consequences of their action through holding them after school is reasonable, according to the law.

But here’s the thing. There’s no real way for school to enforce this rule. If the student disobeys the hold order and leaves, the school can’t do much about it. It can issue further punishment, such as an in-school suspension, but it can’t physically force the student to stay there.

So, if you are ok with the potential consequences of ignoring a hold order, you can do it without legal repercussions. The school will try to dissuade you from disobeying, but that’s about it.

What are your rights

As we said, it’s not illegal to hold students after school. But you have the right to leave school after the bell, even if the teacher doesn’t want you to. You won’t be legally punished for it. The school will, however, most likely issue a bigger punishment like a suspension.

There are situations in which the school is legally right to hold you in school. As we mentioned earlier anything involving potentially life-threatening situations give school extended authority over its students. That’s because of the in loco parentis principle we discussed earlier.

What would a parent do if their children were in danger? They would do their best to protect them. If holding students after school is the best course of action, the school can do it.

Warning: be careful with defying authority. If the school issues a suspension, it might leave a stain on your academic path.

What to Do When Teachers Refuses to Be Reasonable

Holding students after school isn’t illegal. But it shows a lack of respect for the student. Teachers are wasting the students’ time, and causing issues with their schedule. What some teachers fail to realize is that people have lives beyond school.

If a teacher keeps you or your class after school as a form of punishment once or twice it’s no big deal. But if they do it systematically, it’s time to bring it up. Talk with the teacher and give them good reasons to stop holding you.

If the teacher ignores you, get your parents to talk to them. If the teacher ignores parents too, talk with the school’s principal. Make your case clear, and explain why holding students after class is problematic.

The Issues with Keeping Students after School

Students have a life outside school. Even if some don’t, they rely on scheduled activities to get through their day.

Here’s a list of some things that students could miss out on because they are being held in school:

Holding a student after school and making them miss any of these is awful behavior. Doubly so when teachers decide to keep an entire class after school because of one student.

Conclusions

Keeping students after school is not illegal. It is a form of punishment that’s allowed. But just because it’s allowed, it doesn’t mean teacher should employ it lightly. Students have things to do beyond school. Missing their autobus could jeopardize their day.

The law states specifically that school punishments can’t cause physical or psychological harm. While losing time doesn’t constitute a psychological harm by itself, it causes unnecessary stress on students. It’s a matter of respect. Teachers should find better way to punish students.

Remember, the school can’t legally force you to stay in school after class. If you want to leave, you can do so freely. They can’t physically force you to stay there. Be prepared for the consequences though. The school can issue other forms of punishment for students who don’t respect the hold order.

Which is a bit weird if you ask me. You have a right to leave, but doing so makes you eligible for bigger punishment? That’s a bit backwards. But it is what it is.

If a teacher is being particularly annoying with this form of punishment, bring it up to the principal. Make sure to not be confrontational when you talk to them. Just say that holding you or your class after school is bad because it interferes with your daily activities.

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