In Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, the many underage wizards and witches are kept under control by the teachers through the many rules set there. Any miscreants are usually punished by the teachers or the Ministry of Magic, and the form of punishment depends on the severity of the mischief. These punishments can also be used in combination as the ones who hand them out see fit.

During the 1995–1996 school year, when Educational Decree 25 was activated, Dolores Umbridge had the right to override the punishments given by other teachers, and alter them to her own wishes.

Types of disciplineEdit

House point deductionEdit

"While you are at Hogwarts, your triumphs will earn your house points, while any rule-breaking will lose house points."
Minerva McGonagall[src]

This is one of the most common forms of punishment in Hogwarts. When a student has committed some minor mischief, they usually lose House points. As the House Cup competition is a sign of pride for each house, losing points would set them back from winning that pride. This form of punishment may seem a little unfair as one student may drag the entire house down with him.

All teachers, prefects, and the Head Boy and Girl have the authority to dock house points from students. However, prefects have no authority to dock points from other prefects. During the reign of the Inquisitorial Squad, the members were given special permission to dock points from anyone they desire, even prefects.

Some authoritative figures with the power to deduct points may abuse this power in favour of their own house. Such example is Professor Severus Snape, who unfairly deducts large amounts of points from others for the smallest troubles, while ignoring any mishaps from his own house. Strict disciplinarians, however, such as Professor Minerva McGonagall and prefect Percy Weasley, have no qualms about deducting points from their own house, if they believe such action is warranted.


This is another common form of punishment of the school. When a student has caused a certain level of mayhem, they are usually given detention. This punishment is the most varied form, as there are many ways for the students to serve it. The length of the detention can also be determined by the teacher providing it.

Such examples can include doing something dangerous (such as entering the Forbidden Forest to help Rubeus Hagrid) or doing physical labour and other tasks without magic.

Detentions are usually held in a teacher's office, but the Detention Chamber is a known room in Hogwarts that is likely to be used. A corridor, the Detention escape route, is also another location that is likely used for students fleeing their punishments. The Marauders may have used it as it was seen on their Marauder's Map.

When Dolores Umbridge became a professor, she gave one of the most cruel forms of detention in the history of the school. She forced students to spend hours a day for a week at her office, using a Blood Quill to write lines, which causes the words to cut into their hands to draw blood as ink. This detention usually starts from 5:00 pm, so the students don't have much time for dinner, and lasts until over midnight, leaving a lack of time for sleep and homework.

As Umbridge was restrained by the laws of the wizarding world (though its legality of her actions is still questionable), her punishments paled in comparison to when the Carrows and Snape took over during Lord Voldemort's reign. These Death Eater professors used torture as detention, and used the then-legalised Cruciatus Curse on students, as well as other forms of painful tortures and injuries, tactics Argus Filch had been wishing to use on students for several years.

All teachers have the right to hand out detentions to students, regardless of whether it seems fair or not. Professors Snape and Umbridge tend to abuse this authority by giving it to students they dislike (mainly Harry Potter), while excusing favourites.

Removal of privilegesEdit

Teachers can sometimes suspend or remove certain privileges of students, such as Quidditch and visits to Hogsmeade.

In Harry's second year, Snape suggested suspending Harry from Quidditch during the opening of the Chamber of Secrets, but Professor McGonagall rejected that. Three years later, Professor McGonagall threatened Angelina Johnson with the loss of her position as Captain of the team if she shouted loudly again in the Great Hall. Later that year, when Harry and George Weasley attacked Draco Malfoy for insulting their families, Umbridge stripped them of their privilege to play Quidditch and confiscated their broomsticks. Fred Weasley also lost his permission because he was George's twin brother. Although Fred and George retrieved their brooms and escaped Hogwarts, Harry was only returned his privilege and Firebolt when Umbridge was sacked.

In his third year, Neville Longbottom lost his privilege to go to Hogsmeade when he left a list of Gryffindor Tower's passwords for Sirius Black to steal. Harry also lost his privilege by Umbridge two years later after his interview with Rita Skeeter about Lord Voldemort's return. Both of them regained their privileges at the end of their respective years.

In her sixth year, Ginny Weasley lost her privilege to go to Hogsmeade after reforming Dumbledore's Army.


"...he should be suspended, at the very least, for leading his friends into such danger."
—Severus Snape, about the Encounter at the Shrieking Shack[src]

To be suspended from school is to be removed from there for a certain amount of time. Although this practice is not very usual, some Professors like Severus Snape frequently suggested for some students to be suspended for reasons that they think is justifiable.


"Be warned, Potter — any more nighttime wanderings and I will personally make sure you are expelled."
—One of Severus Snape's many threats to Harry Potter[src]

To be expelled from Hogwarts is the final and worst punishment given to the students. The rule-breaking they committed is usually severe enough to have injured others. The student is removed permanently from school, and is forbidden from practising magic any further. After expulsion, the Ministry of Magic confiscates one's wand and destroys it.

There are other reasons for expulsion. Under the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy and Decree for the Reasonable Restriction of Underage Sorcery, for underage wizards and witches, if they perform magic outside of school, especially in front of Muggles, they are given one warning letter. A second offence may result in a disciplinary hearing or expulsion. There is one exception, though: if the situation is serious enough to threaten Muggles or the wizard in question, he or she has permission to perform magic.

Under the tenure of Professor Dolores Umbridge as High Inquisitor, Educational Decrees 24 and 27 were passed, both of which would lead to students being expelled if they dare start an unauthorised organisation and carry The Quibbler inside school, respectively.

Rubeus Hagrid was the only known student to have been expelled, in his third year, for a crime that he did not commit (he was framed by Tom Riddle). Over fifty years later, his name was cleared by Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, who uncovered all the truth about the Chamber of Secrets.

Harry Potter was many times close to being expelled, mainly by Professors Severus Snape and Dolores Umbridge. However, thanks to quick thinking and help from more fair teachers, he was saved from these situations. Once, when Harry was forced to produce a Patronus in front of a muggle, Dudley Dursley, due to a pair of Dementors sent by Umbridge, Harry was expelled for performing underage magic, and in front of a muggle, and that his wand would be confiscated and destroyed. However, this expulsion was later retracted and changed to a disciplinary hearing, at which Harry was found innocent.

In charge of disciplineEdit

Discipline at Hogwarts is enforced by a variety of people. Depending on their position within the hierarchy, they can hand out different kinds of punishment.

  • The Hogwarts caretaker can suggest to teachers, Heads of House, or the Headmaster to put students in detention. He can do so verbally or by using a form. He cannot hand out detention himself or dock house points.
  • Prefects can dock house points from all students except other prefects and the Head Boy or Head Girl. According to Hermione Granger, a prefect can also put students in detention.
  • The Head Boy and Head Girl have the same powers as prefects, but in addition they can dock points from prefects.
  • All Hogwarts teachers can deduct house points from students and can put any student in detention.
  • The Heads of House in addition can expel a student of their house.
  • The Headmaster can use all of the punishments listed above, but can also revoke any punishment handed out. Apparently, any expulsion needs to be confirmed by the Headmaster.