3

Looking at the answers to the question asked here, the Prefects, Head Boy and Head Girl are allowed to take and give points (just not from fellow Prefects). And they are expected to be impartial (like that's going to happen when the Headmaster himself gives points away like tick-tacks).

The question here has answers that talk about what stops the teachers from misusing the system.

Although Percy was a model student and didn't care much about his own house when he took five points from Gryffindor, what stops the others from misusing their power of taking and/or giving points?

6
  • 4
    Slytherin aside, have you ever heard of the honour system? Generally when students are placed in positions of authority, it's because they've demonstrated behaviours like honesty and trustworthiness. At Hogwarts, they're probably also given some kind of training in how the system works, when & how to give or take points and for what reasons. There's probably also a charm that goes with the badge that'll cause itching powder to fill their trousers if they misuse the system. – elemtilas Feb 16 at 16:37
  • 1
    They could have their prefect badge taken away from them if they abuse their power, much like any privilege – fez Feb 16 at 17:15
  • If I understand correctly, the second linked question is specifically about giving points to your own house, while this one is broader, as in it doesn't solely focus on giving, but any form of misuse? – Clockwork Feb 16 at 19:16
  • I imagine if a Slytherin (for example) prefect was arbitrarily giving out points to their house or docking them outside of their house, it wouldn't take long for a Gryffindor (for example) prefect to do the same in retaliation. – NiceOrc Feb 17 at 2:46
  • @fez that could be the perfect action. If we could find any instance that mentions this, it would be one heck of an answer. – Shreedhar Feb 17 at 7:16
6

As I have already written in that answer the points system works well as a tool for evoking social pressure on students, but it is often exploited when it comes to actual numbers. There is a lot of examples of the teachers awarding or deducting arbitrary number of points. It is likely that prefects are no better than teachers and sometimes take advantage of their powers.

In HP and the Order of the Phoenix we could see Draco Malfoy (who was at the moment both prefect and the member of the Inquisitorial Squad) clearly abuse his power:

So, Granger, I’ll have five from you for being rude about our new headmistress... Macmillan, five for contradicting me... Five because I don’t like you, Potter... Weasley, your shirt’s untucked, so I’ll have another five for that... Oh yeah, I forgot, you’re a Mudblood, Granger, so ten for that...

On the other hand, prefects are still students, so their own misbehaviors can be punished by the teachers. If a teacher learns about the prefect misusing her/his power, they should discipline such prefect or in extreme cases escalate the issue to Headmaster who can elect someone else for the role. Obviously that was not the case in the time of Umbridge.

Prefects seem to be quite independent in their roles, but in HP and the Chamber of Secrets there is one passage which might indicate the opposite:

“Harry!” said Percy loudly. “No magic in the corridors. I’ll have to report this, you know!”

But Harry didn’t care, he was one-up on Malfoy, and that was worth five points from Gryffindor any day.

It makes clear Percy had to report the incident, but we don't know who specifically deducted the points. So it's possible that prefects have to report to one of the teachers every time they punished another student.

2
  • The point about Percy, he indeed take five points from Gryffindor as mentioned in this question: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/12189/… – Shreedhar Feb 17 at 7:19
  • @Shreedhar, That question mentioned a situation when Ron was visiting a women toilet, while my quote was about Harry casting spell on Malfoy. So we know that in general prefects can deduct points, but we don't know exactly why Percy didn't immediately take points from Harry, but "had to report this". – Demosthenes Feb 17 at 9:00
0

I dont think I recall Prefects giving points or even talking about giving points. Sure they could take it and this was done only to ensure that the younger students were aware of authority. However, this is definitely there that if Prefects could hand out points too, the Slytherins would never loose a single point or not win the house cup.

About deducting points, I dont recall deducting points either (other than the Inquistorial Squad and even then they deducted the points off other houses but the Slytherin one remain unchanged). They would probably have to seek some authority or follow procedure to get that done. Or they could do it but later could be questioned by the head of houses.

1
  • ummm, nope. we have seen this happening at least three times. Draco does it, Ron and even Percy takes points off Harry and Ron. (ref. Book 1, 2 and 6) Also, you can check Demos' answer above, he actually has added quotes from the books – Shreedhar Feb 18 at 10:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.