SATIRE: High school students get detention for walk-out

Administration say punishment prepares students for real world, teaches conformity

ANNA YOUNG, Evergreen reporter

Gun control debate is back in the limelight after the Parkland High shooting, leading to walkouts in schools across the nation. In Pullman, walking out of class shared the same punishment as the most abhorrent school crimes — detention.

Administrators agreed this was the appropriate response to students peacefully stepping out of class for a few minutes during a months-long school year. The 30-minute detention period requires that students read or do homework.

“We make sure it’s a productive learning time,” said Ashley Clemins, a Pullman High School teacher and detention supervisor. “When they could have been learning the theoretical functions of colliding trains, they were instead trying to exercise freedom of speech in a public setting. We have to compensate for the valuable classroom time lost.”

Stephan Maldrich is a sophomore student who received detention for participating in the walkout. As he slumped in the desk under Clemins’ supervision, he pulled out a copy of the Tinker v. Des Moines ruling and began to highlight sections with a bright orange marker.

Clemins claimed not to notice.

“I just figured it was some kind of communist propaganda,” she said. “Whatever it was, I’m a math teacher, not a government nerd. Bring me some differential equations and maybe I’ll listen.”

Once Maldrich’s 30 minutes were up, he exited the windowless classroom, leaving the court case behind. He then went outside to walk home, since he missed the bus and both his parents were at work.

“I almost planned a national detention walkout,” he said, “but I sort of lost the energy for it. It’s gonna take enough effort to explain to Ivy Leagues in a few years why I have a mark on my record.”

Back at the school, Clemins was pleased at the success of the walkout punishment. She said it really fit the traditional purpose of the school system, to help students conform to society in adulthood. Without that kind of mindset, she said, students might behave unpredictably after they graduate.

“I hope these students realize we’re worried about their safety and happiness,” Clemins said. “That’s why we have to keep them in line with detention, and control when they go to the bathroom. The real world isn’t as kind as high school.”