Michelle Singletary
<dl><dt>Michelle Singletary</dt><dd>Columnist</dd></dl>
 

Schools shouldn’t fine tardy students or their parents

 
 

Money is not the answer to everything.

For example, consider the trend of schools forcing families to pay fines for various infractions such as not getting their children to class on time. It’s counterproductive, and the fines often hit people who can least afford them.

(Astrid Riecken/FOR THE WASHINGTON POST) - Amy Denicore rehearses the school project with her daughter Daisy, 7. The Loudoun County mother and her husband are due in court this month on charges related to their kids’ tardiness at school.

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The practice is an idiotic attempt to change people’s behavior by making them pay. We keep hearing examples of this from around the country.

In Chicago, a charter school system fines students $5 if they end up in detention for piling up infractions that include chewing gum, having untied shoelaces or not looking a teacher in the eye. Children who get 12 detentions in a year must attend a behavior class in the summer that costs $140. Many of the students come from low-income families.

Then there is this nonsense of charging and even jailing parents whose kids are perpetually tardy. A judge in Virginiafound a woman guilty of three counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor because her children were frequently late for school.

The mother was arrested. She was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine for each of her three children, plus $3,000 in court costs. She said she has trouble getting her children to school on time because she suffers from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Another Virginia couple faces trial this month on a misdemeanor charge because their three young children have been late arriving at their elementary school. Most of the time the children, who are good students, were tardy by just a few minutes, their father, Mark Denicore, said in an interview.

Denicore, who is an attorney, has filed a motion to dismiss the case, arguing that there is nothing in the state’s statutes that remotely supports making tardiness a crime. But if he and his wife lose the case, Denicore said, he will probably pull the children out of the public school for fear that future infractions could result in jail time for himself and his wife.

“I don’t think putting a financial burden on people, especially in this economy, is going to motivate people to do something or result in the intent they want,” Denicore said.

He understands the need to have his children on time for school, but does this mean their tardiness should be fined and criminalized?

No, it doesn’t.

The Los Angeles Municipal Code imposes a daytime curfew that gives police the power to detain and question youths under the age of 18 for being off school grounds during school hours. Police were ticketing tardy students, which can often lead to a $250 fine. Add court fees and the cost can jump to more than $1,000.

Some students were getting ticketed even while they were clearly on their way to school, said Manuel Criollo, lead organizer for the Los Angeles-based Community Rights Campaign, which fought to get rid of the ticketing for truancy.

Criollo said his organization interviewed students who said they would stay home rather than risk getting a ticket for being late. Parents who could least afford to miss days at work had to take time off to appear in court with their children. Some families said they had to cut back on food to pay the fines, Criollo said.

How is this a humane way to handle truancy?

Other young adults, who finally got their lives together, found that they couldn’t get a driver’s license because of unpaid truancy tickets. Without the ability to drive in California, they found it hard to get a job.

“Fine-based tickets have a real negative impact on family life,” Criollo said.

Criticism about the Los Angeles policy resulted in the City Council recently relaxing the punitive ticketing of students for tardiness and truancy, eliminating the fines for first and second offenses. As an alternative to the tickets, students will be given community service or directed to counseling. A third offense can still result in a fine, but it’s capped at $20.

Fining families is a dreadfully draconian solution. I know that local jurisdictions are trying their best to hold parents accountable, but this is overreach. Besides, is there a real cause-and-effect relationship here? Does being late to school a lot mean that a kid is going to flunk out or become a social deviant? If not, then why impose such an unreasonable monetary penalty for a non-criminal offense?

Levying fines doesn’t guarantee that systems will get the results they want. In the case of the $250 tickets in Los Angeles, it had the opposite outcome. Children stayed home or became more hostile toward the school system.

Where’s the grace in how we are treating these issues? Where’s the common sense?

Readers can write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. Her e-mail address is singletarym@washpost.com. Questions are welcomed, but because of the volume of mail, personal responses may not be possible.

 

For previous Color of Money columns, go to postbusiness.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"I'm just trying to make a way out of no way, for my people" -Modejeska Monteith Simpkins

 

AFRICAN AMERICA IS AT WAR

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICA

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON AFRICAN AMERICANS

THERE IS A RACE WAR ON BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

AMERICA'S RACISTS HAVE INFILTRATED AMERICAN POLICE FORCES TO WAGE A RACE WAR AGAINST BLACK PEOPLE IN AMERICA

THE BLACK RACE IS AT WAR

FIRST WORLD WAR:  THE APPROXIMATELY 6,000 YEAR WORLD WAR ON AFRICA AND THE BLACK RACE

Original Post

I think that every week on here someone is posting something about how our children specifically are being mistreated by the school system and that the school system has just too much power over our children. IMO there is something that needs to be done about this.

You said it, Yemay!

 

The best thing that Black people can do with this situation and all others is to Boycott.

 

This is REALLY about is MONEY; Public schools receive X-amount of dollars for each day a student is in attendance per child, if the child does not come to school, the school system does not get that amount for that day, evidently, there must be some prorating of funds going on regarding tardies. 

Schools, prisons and hospitals are similarly built.  When I attended school, it was fun.  Those days are long gone.  Uniforms are the dress for today through elementary 1st through 8th.  Strictness is the rule of the day and when African children stray in any way, they are criminalized.  My g-grand is slow as a turtle.  She get to school on time, stops in the cafeteria in the morning and gets to her class late.  Next thing you know, I receive a letter from the school regarding her tardiness.  All I can do is reprimand her, it's her responsibility to get her butt in gear or suffer the consequences.  When Africans in America open 1,000 or more schools, with African teachers, I'll make sure my kids attend.  Until that time, I'm (you know).

Originally Posted by sunnubian:

Are our children in Public Schools, or are they in Prisons and Concentration Camps?

 

When are we going to figure out the real purpose of so called education?

 

Indoctrination is not education.

 

With all of this talk about preparing children for jobs what sense does it make that double-entry accounting is SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS OLD and they never suggest that accounting be mandatory in the schools?

 

The children are there to be brainwashed into being workers.  It is just a complicated form of psychological slavery.  So why haven't we created a Recommended Reading List for our children and quit pretending that White folks are interested in distributing good information among themselves.  What good was four years of English Literature in high school?  Double-entry accounting is more than 200 years older than Shakespeare.  Pay to have children's time wasted and brains sabotaged.

 

The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh From the Lemonade Stand
http://www.exceltip.com/book-1570713960.html
http://www.fool.com/personal-f...unting-gamequot.aspx

The Screwing of the Average Man by David Hapgood
http://www.amazon.com/screwing...apgood/dp/B0006W84KK

Teach Yourself Electricity and Electronics, by Stan Gibilisco
http://www.electronics-tutoria...-and-electronics.htm

 

The Tyranny of Words (1938) by Stuart Chase
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M9H1StY1nU8

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