FIVE OH ONE by Jeremy Hess

Images by Cody Calhoon

Mr. Emmert sent me to detention—my first time ever.
The thought of that stain on my permanent record follows me all the way there.

I don’t know what to expect. Spitballs and chaos. The rioting “bad kids.”

The 2:15 bell rings and I walk into 501, right on time.
One kid sits quietly with his head down. He surfaces sometimes to look out the window.

5 minutes later, another kid comes in.
The walls are bare, white and dull.

Next to the white board sits a pin board with colorful artwork done by previous inmates of 501. Most of them play off of a recurring statement:

“501 FUN.”

The white board displays the supervisor’s name, Ms. Peck, and the rules and expectations:
1) Sign in
2) Check electronics
3) Sit down
Next to the big three it says more rules, the basic: No electronics, do your homework, no talking, no sleeping.

Only 10 minutes have passed and I notice the electronics rule is out the window. Out of the three students, one is buried in his phone listening to music. The other two follow the routine of head down in a near-sleep, surface. Head down, surface.

Then shortly after that a kid (Melvin?) walks in. He’s the only one asked what teacher sent you here. He struggles with the name—some math teacher. His friend follows close behind, and goes to sit at the computer in the corner. (Melvin) and Ms. Peck talk for a few more minutes, and he joins his friend in the back on the computer.

They sit in the corner and talk for their entire stay in 501.

By 2:40, Ms. Peck lets the first kid who came in go home. The end. No spitballs, no chaos, basically just 30 minutes of timeout—a correction for mistakes.

And everybody makes mistakes.