Charging parents for detention

Parents would pay a detention fee for their misbehaving children if two board members in Nutley, New Jersey get their way. Detention costs the district about $10,000 a year in overtime and maintenance. The board members want to fine parents of “habitual” detainees.

However, the policy may not be legal, says Frank Belluscio, spokesman for the New Jersey School Board Association. Detention isn’t an extracurricular activity.

“Discipline is part of a public education,” he said. “Since detention would have to be used to enforce discipline, it is doubtful that you could charge for that, the same way you can’t charge for someone taking a history class or math class.”

In some areas, parents can be fined for their children’s truancy.

Via Core Knowledge Blog.

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  1. In my district each high school was allowed to set their own policy about retaking failed classes. Most did not allow them to be made up during the school year. This left two options–summer school, or the adult night school, both of which charged for classes. I tried to raise the issue of free and public education with multiple parties, but was shouted down at every point. I still suspect that the district was in the wrong and if persued in a court of law they would have to renege.

    I hope that Nutley’s nutty idea gets sufficient press to turn parents and others out in droves to oppose it. Of course, challenging the policy may be a damned if you don’t, damned if you do sort of thing. After all, isn’t it only the bad parents whose kids need detention?

  2. Fining the parents is a way to get them to care about the behavior of their child.


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