Students who skip school, are habitually late or often disrupt class typically don’t want to spend more time in the classroom. That’s why Dracut’s decision to create Saturday school as a form of discipline should prove to be an excellent deterrent.
It will require Dracut High School students — who have broken a rule or two — to get out of bed early on a Saturday morning and spend three hours in school being monitored by a faculty member and performing some kind of academic work.
Far too often suspensions are viewed favorably by the more recalcitrant students. They get a day, or two, or three to stay home with no fear that the truant officer will come knocking at the door.
What kind of punishment is that?
Far worse for the students, and far better for parents, is requiring teens who break the rules to spend even more time in school. Devoting a Saturday morning to writing an essay comparing the battle strategies of Napoleon and Wellington, figuring out complicated geometry problems or memorizing the periodic table of the elements is much more likely to encourage a student to avoid future infractions.
Brought forward by Dracut High School principal James Generoso, this is a good idea that has worked well in other communities. Alvirne High School in Hudson has used Saturday detentions for years. Hearing that alarm buzz once or twice at 7 a.m. on the weekend is usually enough to motivate students to pay closer attention to school rules.
If not, a more standard suspension or other disciplinary measure can be enforced.
Saturday school is a common-sense concept that has worked well in numerous communities and we commend Generoso and the School Committee for adopting the program in Dracut.