Punishment in a Classroom Setting

Dear Professor Dolores Umbridge, 

Now that you have been removed from your title as headmaster at Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as a student body we would all like to tell you exactly where you failed to do the right thing in helping us, as students, progress in our learning career. As an individual, you are cruel, evil, sadistic, and condescending. You did nothing to better the school, rather you decided to put rules in place that limited the students from learning. You also attempted to get rid of a well-liked professor who as a whole, brought the student body’s moral down. Other than making Hogwarts become every witch’s and wizard’s personal hell, you did absolutely nothing. The worst part of it all was that as students, we felt that we could not express ourselves in the way that we once could, because of how terrified we were to have to endure one of your horrifying punishments. Your punishments were abusive and not effective towards the students. This played a crucial role in why the atmosphere of Hogwarts and the classrooms did not feel safe or comforting. We are writing this letter to give you a better understanding on why extreme punishment is ineffective on students in a classroom setting and provide you with how to punish students but in a way that is effective and not considered child abuse.

As a headmaster of Hogwarts, you should have known that human dignity is considered the most important variable in developing a child’s mental health. School Administrators, you, should disband any punishment that results in mental or physical harm. Instead of disbanding it you did a wonderful job with reinforcing the punishment, leading to the physical and mental harm of our students. This may come as a shock to you but, people do not normally respond well when you have them inscribe words into their flesh. Research shows how punishment is directly correlated to antisocial behavior, low self esteem, loss of trust, and low cognitive development. Due to your punishments many students now struggle with these horrible behavioral effects. 

Not only do you physically abuse the students at Hogwarts but you also verbally abused them. Verbally abusing the students puts them at risk for academic failure and behavioral problems. For example, Fred and George Weasley set off fireworks inside of Hogwarts which demonstrates that the boys are done with your rules that you implemented. Therefore, they set off fireworks to rebel against you by acting out through a behaviorally wrong way. In addition, it’s also suggested that the positive socialization between teacher and students greatly influences their self esteem. This is something that you are not particularly good at… actually, it’s something you are horrible at. No witch or wizard here feels comfortable enough going up to you and asking you a question. Every time you open your mouth you have nothing nice to say which causes the students to feel insecure about themselves. Like when you said to Harry, and we quote, “deep down, you know that you deserved to be punished. Don’t you, Mr. Potter?”. It is all in the way that you communicate with people. If you were to punish someone but say it in a way that they will learn from their mistakes and will not be scared by them, the students here at Hogwarts would be well disciplined children with high sense of self worth. Instead, we see you say things like “naughty children deserve to be punished” and “you know, I really hate children”. Your verbal and mental abuse effected the students at Hogwarts in many ways, with some fearing you and others not feeling comfortable to be themselves.

Instead of punishing students, you should get them to behave by modeling the behaviors you want them to have. Some alternative methods include teaching children conflict resolution skills, reasoning, and by modeling patience, kindness, and empathy to engrave these behaviors in the students. The students will behave in these way if, you being the person they may look up to, is modeling these behaviors as well. These are some examples of how you could have handled situation here at Hogwarts. It is not always about the form of punishment but, in the way you act in public and towards the students. 

Now that we are bringing the situation to your attention we hope that your methods of punishment and the way you come off to others will change for the future. For example, instead of making everyone who participated in Harry’s magical training, to defeat Lord Voldemort, write words in their flesh, the more civil approach would have been to ask them questions. For example, why are you using magic in the school when you know that its not allowed? If you have a civil conversation with the students asking them why they did what they did, the punishment is shame and guilt for what they have done. There is no need for physical punishment because knowing that you did something wrong and got caught is embarrassing and painful enough. 

So, all in all, we just want to say thank you! Thank you so much for physically and mentally damaging every single student here at Hogwarts and making us feel like we live in a prison and have no freedom. Due to your harsh punishments you made Hogwarts into a hostile environment where no witch, wizard, or for that matter, professor felt safe or comfortable. We really hope that this letter will persuade you to change your forms of punishment to something more civil and not so abusive towards any human being.


The Student Body of Hogwarts: School of Witchcraft and Wizardry 

Work Cited

Brendgen, Mara, et al. “Verbal Abuse by the Teacher during Childhood and Academic,   

Behavioral, and Emotional Adjustment in Young Adulthood.” Journal of Educational Psychology, vol. 99, no. 1, Feb. 2007, pp. 26–38. EBSCOhost,

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., 2007.

Paintal, Sureshrani. “Banning Corporal Punishment of Children.” Childhood Education, vol. 76, no. 1, 1999, pp. 36–39. EBSCOhost,