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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

Justice under God (JUG) needs a few changes

Photo by Kyan Pires

The school system has unfair punishments that are crossing students boundaries. In our own school, I have witnessed harsh punishments known as JUG for simple or stupid mistakes. Just the other day when I was waiting for over an hour for my friend who was driving me home while he sat in JUG. He spoke to me right after about how the presiding enforcer made them stay in JUG, reading the student handbook over and over again. According to The National Association of School Psychologists,  This form of punishment has been shown not to be effective and therefore is beneficial to no one. The students are dealing with harsh punishments that only frustrate them while their bad actions continue because of the lack of effectiveness it has on students’ behaviors. 

Around sophomore year of high school, I had deservingly received my first JUG and was prepared to serve my punishment. Once I had arrived, I had no clue what I was about to be in store for. As our punishment, we were told to sit and stare at a black dot on the whiteboard until the presiding enforcer deemed we had done enough. We began to stare for what felt like an eternity until finally he stopped the madness. 

During the stretch of the staring, I began to feel a little faint and even dizzy after concentrating on a small dot for at least 30 minutes. I also had received a terrible headache as a result of the punishment. The JUG punishments are examples of some unfair punishments students are receiving on the daily. 

I do recognize that there needs to be repercussions for students’ actions, but the way they are being dealt with seems unfair or harsh. Certain JUG punishments, such as cleaning up the school, seem just and are also beneficial to the school because those serving JUG are cleaning and beautifying the campus. According to Students’ Perceptions of Unfair Discipline in School by Katrina Morrison from the Journal of Classroom Interaction, “When students choose their own consequence or intervention, they have a stake in its success.” Not only does this offer other possible solutions but studies have shown that students deeming their own just consequences for their actions provide greater possibilities that these actions won’t be repeated. Additionally, the National Library of Medicine spoke about how ripping out a student’s dignity will not yield results but only make the matter worse. From personal experience, I can tell you that I felt my dignity was violated as I felt like I was being treated as a child in some of the scenarios. 

According to the National Library of Medicine, “the extent to which students comply with rules is linked to their perceptions that the school’s rules and authority are fair”. I have never thought about this viewpoint, but more research backs up this theory. I have seen firsthand students complaining about the unfair treatment they are receiving from student services and have also seen that students are explicitly not following rules. I have seen students, especially as seniors, lose respect for student service members as a result of the disrespect they have been shown. Students have purposely skipped class or participated in events such as “senior skip day,” which was unwarranted by the school. 

I believe that it is in the interest of the school and its students to come up with more reasonable punishments for actions breaking the school code. Along this line, I believe student services should come up with one or two punishments such as students cleaning the campus or students writing apology letters to whomever they may have harmed that way they recognize what they did was bad and why it was bad. These punishments are not only fair but would yield a better percentage of students not repeating the same mistake and, therefore, making student services’ job of discipling students much easier. 

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