Why would you want to keep a whole class behind? The answers are so obvious that it is fatuous to ignore them, so let us face them manfully:
- It guarantees that the unjust are skewered, even if the ones you want are obscured by the noise and smoke of the classroom (the Fog of Wah!, as I call it)
- It lays your vengeance upon them, as Mr S Jackson would agree. They can't say that you didn't punish the guilty.
So certainty and the need to sanction against are both satisfied. But what is lost?
Justice. The whole class detention is a carpet-bombing, a daisy-chain detonation that flattens the just and the unjust. It destroys what you work hard to create- the classroom relationship. Every child, guilty and innocent is treated alike, and the good realise, silently and certainly, that there is no reward in this life for kindness, compliance, dedication and application. Might as well, you can hear them think, go rotten. Good luck to you after that.
This reminds me, strangely enough, of the cavernous cement-mixer of moral reasoning that accompanies every debate on capital punishment, as another soul- a murderer, or not- receives the ultimate state sanction in Georgia. To ignore the obvious attraction of the death penalty, to claim that it is 'obviously' wrong, is to commit the sin of certainty, which is a death of a more abstract sort: the death of reason. The very human thirst for vengeance can't be simply dismissed as an aberration of character, or the unsettled aspect of a mind speckled by sadness, grief and outrage. Not one of us would calmly forgive a monster who took some loved one away from us in the gruesome ways that such events inevitably happen. Not one.