As all too many have learned the past year, online learning is not for everyone. Many prefer it, of course, but for many other students, especially younger ones, having to sit still and stare at a screen all day is next to impossible.
Kids have trouble staying focused under normal circumstances, after all, let alone amidst a global pandemic. Which is probably why a mother's story about her child being given "Zoom detention" has angered scores of people on Twitter.
In short, if you feel like the very notion of punishing a child for not paying attention to Zoom with more Zoom is layer upon layer of absurd, you are not alone.
My child got sent to Zoom detention for not paying attention in Zoom 4th grade. Email said here’s the link to acces… https://t.co/yW3NmVmo8S— Uju Anya (@Uju Anya) 1617725940.0
The tweet thread that started the Zoom detention uproar came from Dr. Uju Anya, a linguistics professor at Penn State University.
This week, she was notified by her nine-year-old daughter's 4th grade teacher she had been sent to detention on Zoom due to her "inability to focus consistently in online class."
The repeated behavior the teacher warned my 9yo and emailed me previously about is my child's inability to focus co… https://t.co/KMsw6TGOJ3— Uju Anya (@Uju Anya) 1617727869.0
"She frequently gets distracted" sounds kind of like normal nine-year-old stuff right? Let alone a nine-year-old forced to sit stock still in front of a laptop all day.
Anya went on to say her daughter is "struggling to keep it together" as the pandemic drags on, which sounds about right—who among us isn't? She also conceded teaching via Zoom has to be a major challenge for her daughter's teacher.
But Zoom detention? For a nine-year-old? Who was just being, well, a nine-year old?
Quite understandably, that's where Anya drew the line.
My child is struggling to keep it together during this pandemic like all of us. I chose remote learning to keep her… https://t.co/cFj7zvbUcB— Uju Anya (@Uju Anya) 1617727869.0
In a follow-up tweet, Anya shared a detail that somehow made this whole thing even worse. Her daughter's school actually used the absurd—not to mention dystopian—phrase "virtual detention."
Unsurprisingly, Anya was flooded with replies to her tweets from other parents and educators.
@UjuAnya Excuse me? Are you serious?— Shana V. White (she/her) (@Shana V. White (she/her)) 1617727022.0
@UjuAnya A fourth grader who had their life disrupted and is surviving a global pandemic doesn't focus the best?? https://t.co/IZXAWInOb5— Tiffani 🌈✊🏽 (@Tiffani 🌈✊🏽) 1617759546.0
@UjuAnya Imma say it again: We can’t learn while we are experiencing ongoing trauma. Not sure how or whether this h… https://t.co/FOD5qb0j9f— A Girl Has No Name (@A Girl Has No Name) 1617731150.0
@uche_blackstock It's so wild. She couldn't concentrate and stare at one adult on a screen, so she will be discipli… https://t.co/cnWqBk8s86— Uju Anya (@Uju Anya) 1617726155.0
@UjuAnya This is absurd. Punishment based discipline in schools is ableist, unscientific, disproportionately affects BIPOC and needs to GO.— covid doesn't take a holiday 🏳️🌈 (@covid doesn't take a holiday 🏳️🌈) 1617726974.0
@UjuAnya 4th grade?!? What do they think “zoom detention” will prove or solve to a 4th grader?!? What happens when… https://t.co/4IZamj6rk0— Ken Shelton (@Ken Shelton) 1617726469.0
@UjuAnya There is absolutely NO WAY my child would ever serve a “zoom detention.” There is ZERO educational value t… https://t.co/qCuZqAzLCU— SmalleTravel (@SmalleTravel) 1617727268.0
@UjuAnya This is so bizarre. "Hello student, we recognize this format is a source of struggle for you, so as punish… https://t.co/5nXAEkjvh3— taylor found shrimp in her stimmy check 🍤 (@taylor found shrimp in her stimmy check 🍤) 1617735453.0
@UjuAnya @powdrtcg Man, i’d just close the computer. What they gonna do? Send me to detention 2.0 Ridiculous.— Tempo | Pokeaim (@Tempo | Pokeaim) 1617752609.0
Are we peak dystopia yet? https://t.co/GAYKlR9PHR— dooppy Ⓥ (@dooppy Ⓥ) 1617730643.0
In her final tweet addressing the replies, Anya confirmed her daughter would emphatically not be attending "virtual detention," which seems far more sensible than requiring Zoom detention in the first place.