I think the better question is: Should students receive detentions for something that they cannot help?
I don’t know about most people, but I was always under the impression that passing gas was an involuntary human reaction. If a student on a school bus accidentally passes gas, that should be something we should punish? What’s next, punishing someone for sneezing? We as human beings like to consider ourselves above other animals, and in many ways we are. The fact is that according to the definition of the word “animal,” biologically, humans fit into this category. Intellectually and spiritually we may be above other animals, but biologically speaking we are not. Below is the definition of “animal” from Webster’s New Universal Unabridged Dictionary:
Animal: any member of the kingdom Animalia, comprising multicellular organisms that have a well-defined shape and usually limited growth, can move voluntarily, actively acquire food and digest it internally, and have sensory and nervous systems that allow them to respond rapidly to stimuli: some classification schemes also include protozoa and certain other single-celled eukaryotes that have motility and animal like nutrition modes.
The point is that, as part of the animal species, we are not always in control of when we pass gas. I do not think it appropriate for children to be punished for something that they cannot biologically control. Passing gas is a normal part of digestion. It may smell badly at times, but it is a natural part of being human. There are times when people can control when they pass gas, but holding it in, for lack of a better way to phrase it, is not healthy. You can get severe stomach pains from holding in gas. Should we encourage students to do something that will cause them unnatural discomfort? I think not.
Now granted, students should not purposely force themselves to pass gas when on the school bus. That is simply obnoxious and ‘should’ be something that gets them put into detention. That is not what I am referring to, however. I am talking about the students who do not broadcast to the rest of the bus when they need to pass gas, and who feel the need to do it, rather than those offensive students who force themselves to pass gas for the general hilarity and disgust of everyone else.
These students should not be given detention because passing gas is as involuntary as sneezing is. Just like sneezing, you can hold it in if you really want to, but if you are not conscious of it coming, then it is out of your control. We should not discourage a natural process from occurring, especially if it means discomfort for the person. This might mean pain for everyone else on the bus because of the awful smell of the gas, but buses ‘are’ equipped with windows after all.