Henry Hawkins’ mom says this photo was taken while he cleaned desks during detention at his Prince George’s County elementary school.
When an elementary school-aged child gets detention at school, what does he do with that time? One Maryland mom says her son spent it cleaning toilets.
Henry Hawkins is a fifth grader at Longfields Elementary School in Forestville. The 11-year-old says he got into an argument with a classmate. His mother, Neshanna Turner, tells FOX 5 she received a notice saying he would be in detention after school as a result.
But then came this photo. Turner says it shows Henry scrubbing a desk during detention. Henry also says he cleaned toilets, pushed a cart around, and put chairs on desks in classrooms.
When she heard that, Turner says she was enraged—and it’s even worse because Henry has asthma. He said there were a lot of chemicals around when he was cleaning toilets.
Henry stayed home from school and missed a test on Thursday. He says he’s not feeling well.
His mom says she thinks detention should be confined to academics.
“If you want to give them detention, that’s fine,” said Turner. “Have them come in, sit down, do their homework, give them an essay or a writing assignment.”
FOX 5 checked, but found no mention of cleaning in the Prince George’s County Schools Student Rights and Responsibilities Handbook.
Prince George’s County Schools released the following statement on the situation:
“Although “In-School Work Detail” is an appropriate disciplinary response, the response must match a student’s infraction. In addition, the appropriateness of any disciplinary action taken is always subject to internal review and/or may be appealed.”
Some other parents told FOX 5 cleaning toilets should be the job of the janitor, while others said that depending on what happened, that punishment may fit the crime. Turner says the lesson, however, goes too far.