School replaces detention with meditation and goes an entire year with no suspensions


Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary School has taken an interesting step in the way they handle trouble-making kids.  Any time a kid goes too far, they’re sent to the “Mindful Moment Room” where they undergo breathing exercises and talk through it with a councilor to reflect on what they did.

Strict parents and educators might want to reconsider their approach.

The room is decorated with bright colors, plush purple pillows to sit on, and lamps, making it stand out in contrast to a bland detention hall.

Since the program  has been initiated, the school has reported zero suspensions.

Sometimes when I get mad I just breathe deep… I just, like I picture me being in a certain place I like, and I just thought I could overcome everybody and then I just stop being mad…I think of being a bigger person and doing something maybe a wise man would do… I think of something that a stronger, a mentally stronger person would do.

If a kid’s good, but still wants to participate, they’re able to join an after-school program called Holistic Me, where they can learn mindfulness and yoga .

If kids misbehave at school, they get punished—it’s a system we’ve all come to accept as normal. But now, Baltimore’s Robert W. Coleman Elementary School is trying to change the system by replacing detention with meditation.

Students who act out in class are sent to the “Mindful Moment Room” to calm down with breathing exercises that help them reflect on their mistakes. This space is was decorated with bright colors, plush purple pillows to sit on, and lamps. It’s about as far from forcing kids to sit quietly in an empty classroom with their peers as you could get.

Of course, misbehaving isn’t the only way for students to get involved with meditation. In partnership with the Holistic Life Foundation, the elementary school also hosts an after-school program called Holistic Me to teach its students mindfulness and yoga.

Apparently, the school has already seen a change in attitudes, which has caused other nearby schools to adopt the program, too. According to Upworthy, Robert W. Coleman Elementary didn’t issue a single suspension last year. On the Holistic Life Foundation’s testimonial page, students say the program has helped them focus during tests, avoid fighting with their peers, and even to keep calm around their parents.

Here’s how one 5th grader explains it:

Sometimes when I get mad I just breathe deep… I just, like I picture me being in a certain place I like, and I just thought I could overcome everybody and then I just stop being mad…I think of being a bigger person and doing something maybe a wise man would do… I think of something that a stronger, a mentally stronger person would do.

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