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“First years should note that the forest on the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.”

-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 7-The Sorting Hat

Why did Dumbledore allow detentions to be in forbidden forest even though it is Forbidden for all the students.

“At this, Neville let out a little moan, and Malfoy stopped dead in his tracks.      

“The forest?” he repeated, and he didn’t sound quite as cool as usual.

“We can’t go in there at night — there’s all sorts of things in there — werewolves, I heard.”

-Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 15-The Forbidden Forest

marked as duplicate by Rand al'Thor Jul 21 at 12:50

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  • 2
    In addition to the answer below, don't forget that it is a detention. And, at Hogwarts, detentions can consist of all sorts of not-so-pleasant things. In HBP Snape makes Harry sort out flobberworms without protective gloves. Even though dangling from the ceiling by your arms has been discontinued, detentions at Hogwarts can be a wee bit draconian. They're also, often, supposed to do some good or serve some purpose as Hagrid remarks in that very scene – Au101 Aug 22 '15 at 2:48
  • Was someone reading HP and the Methods of Rationality? :) – DVK-on-Ahch-To Aug 25 '15 at 19:48
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“Is that you, Filch? Hurry up, I want ter get started.”

Harry’s heart rose; if they were going to be working with Hagrid it wouldn’t be so bad. His relief must have showed in his face, because Filch said, “I suppose you think you’ll be enjoying yourself with that oaf? Well, think again, boy — it’s into the forest you’re going and I’m much mistaken if you’ll all come out in one piece.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest

Yes, Dumbledore requested students to avoid the forbidden forest. But that is to ensure that students don't go into the forest when they are alone without adult supervision. In this case, Hagrid would be around to take care of the students.

“There’s nothin’ that lives in the forest that’ll hurt yeh if yer with me or Fang,” said Hagrid.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest

I think in case of detention, Dumbledore would know which teacher/staff would handle detention, but he would not know how they will manage it. Dumbledore would not have expected Hagrid to divide the group.

“An’ keep ter the path. Right, now, we’re gonna split inter two parties an’ follow the trail in diff’rent directions. There’s blood all over the place, it must’ve bin staggerin’ around since last night at least.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest

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    +1. Also, don't forget that Hagrid takes a whole class in there in OOTP to see the thestrals. Now Dolores Umbridge may not have been over the moon about this (which may, under those circumstances, for all we know, have troubled Dumbledore a bit); but there's nothing to suggest Dumbledore minded students going in with appropriate supervision, as you say. – Au101 Aug 22 '15 at 2:44
  • Perhaps it's just a more extreme version of how many schools have nature areas or pond areas. Perfectly safe really but you still don't allow children in unsupervised. – ThruGog Aug 22 '15 at 8:57
  • @ThruGog Well, the Forbidden Forest is hardly ‘perfectly safe’ by anyone's standards (oh, hello millions of gigantic angry spiders that want to eat me, have you met my semi-savage seventeen-foot rock-for-skin giant friend Grawp who likes to pull up trees by the roots?), but yeah. Seems like a similar concept. – Janus Bahs Jacquet Aug 22 '15 at 10:19
  • @Janus Bahs Jacquet Lol I meant those real life school places were safe but still require supervision. I wasn't suggesting that the Forbidden Forest was! And don't forget those grumpy Centaurs! – ThruGog Aug 22 '15 at 10:34
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I think you have to keep in mind that Hogwarts is a pretty dangerous place, generally. As Hagrid put it:

'I mean, it's always bin a bit of a risk sendin' a kid ter Hogwarts, hasn' it? Yer expect accidents, don' yeh, with hundreds of under-age wizards all locked up tergether,'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.379 - Bloomsbury - chapter 19, Elf Tails

The Forbidden Forest is a dangerous place, but then Charms class is hardly a soft play area, is it?

As well as that, I think the quote that you provide in your question is very telling:

'First-years should note that the forest in the grounds is forbidden to all pupils. And a few of our older students would do well to remember that as well.'

Dumbledore's twinkling eyes flashed in the direction of the Weasley twins.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.94 - Bloomsbury - chapter 7, The Sorting Hat

He doesn't seem too stern, or grave, does he? Indeed, it seems he has his strong suspicions that the Weasley twins have been in there; but he doesn't ever seem to pursue his suspicions. Personally, I've always been left with the feeling that, if anything, Dumbledore was faintly amused by their antics - although that's just a personal impression.

Now, don't mistake me. The Forbidden Forest is forbidden and is very dangerous. Students aren't allowed in there unsupervised, according to school rules, and with good reason. It is much more dangerous than, say, Charms class. However, I really can't see Dumbledore objecting to the students going in under Hagrid's supervision. That certainly doesn't seem out of character for Dumbledore, nor does it seem in violation of the spirit, or the letter, of the school rule about the Forbidden Forest. (Although whether the group splitting up was such a good idea, is another matter). The point is, though, that students aren't allowed in there unsupervised, as Vishvesh explains in detail in their fine answer.

To further underline this point, recall that Hagrid takes an entire party into the Forest in The Order of the Phoenix (chapter 21, The Eye of the Snake). Now, Dolores Umbridge may not have been very impressed with his lesson - but she actually seems to have objected to the Thestrals, more than the location of the class - and she was looking for reasons to sack Hagrid. There's nothing, though, to suggest that Dumbledore minded about this supervised foray into the Forest, and it certainly doesn't look like he tried to stop it (because Hagrid would listen to Dumbledore).

Finally, I would draw your attention to the fact that, at Hogwarts, detentions can consist of all sorts of unpleasant things. Even though hanging by your wrists from the ceiling has been discontinued, detentions at Hogwarts can be a wee bit draconian. It seems that occasionally students can be made to do things that they normally wouldn't for their own safety. For example, in The Half-Blood Prince, Snape makes Harry sort out flobberworms without protective gloves:

'Harry?' said the new Chaser, Demelza Robins, appearing suddenly at his shoulder. 'I've got a message for you.'

'From Professor Slughorn?' asked Harry, sitting up hopefully.

'No ... from Professor Snape,' said Demelza. Harry's heart sank. 'He says you're to come to his office at half past eight tonight to do your detention - er - no matter how many party invitations you've received. And he wanted you to know you'll be sorting out rotten Flobberworms from good ones, to use in Potions, and - and he says there's no need to bring protective gloves.'

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - p.222 - Bloomsbury - chapter 11, Hermione's Helping Hand

The Detentions are also, often, supposed to do some good or serve some purpose as Hagrid remarks in that very scene:

'But this is servant stuff, it's not for students to do. I thought we'd be writing lines or something. If my father knew I was doing this, he'd -'

'- tell yer that's how it is at Hogwarts,' Hagrid growled. 'Writin' lines! What good's that ter anyone? Yeh'll do summat useful or yeh'll get out. If yeh think yer father'd rather you were expelled, then get back off ter the castle an' pack. Go on!'

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.182 - Bloomsbury - chapter 15, The Forbidden Forest

Hagrid needed an important job doing, I doubt very much Dumbledore would've objected to him using the students that had been placed in detention. In fact, I'll go a bit further. Remember Harry's observation at the end of the book:

'He's a funny man, Dumbledore. I think he sort of wanted to give me a chance. I think he knows more or less everything that goes on here, you know. I reckon he had a pretty good idea we were going to try, and instead of stopping us, he just taught us enough to help. I don't think it was an accident he let me find out how the Mirror worked. It's almost like he thought I had the right to face Voldemort if I could ...'

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone - p.219 - Bloomsbury - chapter 17, The Man with Two Faces

I'd be very surprised if Dumbledore hadn't heard about the attacks on the unicorn and I bet he had a good idea who was behind them. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was actually very happy that Harry was going to be going into that Forest to help get to the bottom of it. It may even have been his idea, you never know.

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