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British school hands out 600 detentions in four days Add to ...

You know your school is tough when you can land a five-hour detention for wearing mismatched socks.

Tired of unruly students (and apparently desperate to crack down on grade-school fashion faux pas), a British school launched a zero-tolerance policy this week and started handing out the detentions - 600 in four days in a school of 1,300 students.

On first read, the 14 new rules sound pretty reasonable. They include the old standards: no running, no being rude and no chewing gum in class. Students are also prohibited from "excessive" jewellery, wearing hoodies and scarves inside, or having their mobile phones "visible in class." (The sock infraction relates to the school's uniform code, which also bans colourful underwear, according to the Daily Mail.)

But breaking these rules doesn't just have kids staying in for recess. Detention at the City of Ely Community College in Cambridgeshire mean sitting silently in rows with fellow troublemakers for five hours, reading a book on "good behaviour," the newspaper reports.

On Monday alone, teachers apparently sent 236 students to the detention hall. The number has been in decline each day since then, but it's hard to say whether this is because the students are behaving better or the parents are freaking out.

"This is a school not a prison," said one angry mom, whose 12-year-old son was given a full day of detention for arriving late to French class. She is now looking for a new school for her kids.

The school's principal is standing by the new policy. "Any pupil who is removed from class is removed for a good reason and this is fundamental in preparing pupils for their future careers, where they certainly would not get away with being rude, dressing inappropriately or chewing gum," Catherine Jenkinson-Dix said.

Perhaps she is trying to avoid the situation in Lancashire, where high-school teachers started picketing their own school, complaining the head teacher is too soft on misbehaving pupils.

Sloppy socks aside, do you think schools should crack down harder on student misbehaviour? And what is a reasonable detention for chewing gum in class?

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