I had a principal once that told me that if I assigned something it must be valuable. Therefore, a student did not have the option of blowing it off. If one decided to sit there and do nothing, then I should call an adminstrator and have him escorted to the office.
I asked him to repeat himself to make sure I heard him correctly. I did. That very afternoon a student refused to work. I called him and he came and took the student away. That student worked for the remainder of the semester. But a week later when I called for an admin it was an AP that responded. She looked at me like I grew an extra head. She took the kid but later I got my butt chewed big time for calling her. That student continued to sleep for the semester.
Very few high school students that would blow off an assignment while IN CLASS would care about consequences. Assign a detention? Don't show. Call home? Well, the parents that would typically raise a student with so little respect for education aren't likely to care much about such a call. Or if they do, they don't have much influence over the child. Referral? Only works if the adminstration realizes that such support is really needed.
It might be a huge problem that some teachers have with classroom management. But I have to admit, I'm really tired of losing so much time in class harping on the 1/3 of the students that just won't work unless a cattle prod is taken to them. It isn't fair for the other students that are willing to work and want to do well.