When teachers at Robert W. Coleman Elementary in Baltimore are struggling with a students’ behavior, the educators have an alternative to detention. They can refer the student to meditation.

The Holistic Life Foundation keeps three staff members in a “mindful moment room” ready to help a frustrated student with a 15-minute session of active listening, breathing exercises, and meditation.

Andres Gonzalez is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Holistic Life Foundation and says that in the elementary schools they work with the students must be referred by the teachers, but in the high schools, the students can self-refer.

Over time, their program becomes part of the culture of the school, says Gonzalez.

“The kids kind of know what they’re getting in to and they want to be there.”

The Holistic Life Foundation believes that students are sometimes going through something, that’s making their behavior a little off. It may be trouble at home or something internal, but either way, the students are screaming for attention and they’re screaming for help.

“Instead of you punishing a kid for something you probably don’t even know what he’s going through,” says Gonzalez. “Why don’t we let the kid talk and give him tools that he can use in the future when he’s faced with adversity, stress or trauma.”

To hear our full interview about replacing detention with meditation, listen to Episode 51 of the Class Dismissed Podcast on iTunes.

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