August 22nd, 2012
03:00 PM ET

Your kid skipped school? You owe $75

A school superintendent in New Britain, Connecticut, is tackling truancy with a new policy: A $75 fine every time a student skips class. Some say it's not fair - some parents can barely afford a car to get their kids to school, one told CNN affiliate WTNH. School leaders haven't approved the policy yet. An administrator said they might have a community service option for those who can't afford to pay.

What do you think? Is a truancy fine fair? Do you think it will keep kids from skipping school? Tell us in the comments!

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Filed under: Behavior • Practice
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Addison

    It's not fair for parents to pay if kids don't go to school. Kids can be sneaky and their parents don't know they are laying out of school. If the school knows where they are hanging out then why don't they go pick them up and bring them back?

    September 4, 2012 at 7:28 am |
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    August 29, 2012 at 11:59 am |
  3. tiffany

    I think it should be if they miss more than 3-5 days in a month they get fined. I think it would help parents force there kids to go to school more

    August 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  4. AMM

    I am a parent and an educator. Aside from legal concerns and finances, this system isn't fair. I could drive my child to school, watch that child walk into or escort that child into the building, but as soon as I leave, that child could just as easily walk out another door or leave later in the day. Playing both roles, there is a definite need for parent involvement in school, but parents can't sit next to their children the entire school day in the public school realm. Children need to be taught at home and at school that what they get out of the experiences at school will be what helps them to develop not only as students and future employees, but as human beings. A punitive fine doesn't help students learn this, especially if parents are enabling or unable.

    August 25, 2012 at 10:43 am |
  5. ramblinman

    Unless the schools, who are in loco parentis to the child, first give the money to the child, the child will have no way to pay. Legally, I do not think you can demand money from a child. They cannot enter into contracts. They have no money.
    As being in the place of the parents for school issues, the school has no business demanding financial penalties from children. They are clearly in error here. Some school people do not understand legal concepts very well and may not have much knowledge about what a school can actually do and what they are legally barred from doing, yet these people can often be in positions of power with no oversight or legal advice available to them.
    I'd say fire the idiots who pushed this through and go back to being a school and not a trumped up business.
    When you introduce the possibility of profit into a regulatory scheme, you destroy any credibility you may have had while giving real financial incentive for people to abuse the process, often guaranteeing that greed will destroy any semblance of being a school and more like a private enrichment tool for administrators who will find ways to launder the money through friends and business contacts. Oops too late. It's already happened.

    August 24, 2012 at 2:55 am |
  6. Ms. M's class

    We think there should be a punishment for skipping school but we do not think a fine is the answer. It will be extremely hard to collect the fines from the parents. We think students should be caught and made to go to school.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  7. Molly

    As a School Psychologist, I would urge this mother to get counseling for her child asap if she hasn't already. Nya's perfectionism (yes, possible OCD or another anxiety disorder) could become crippling if it isn't addressed through therapy. Many children (gifted or not) will refuse to produce any work and will have outbursts to avoid classwork because they are so anxious that it won't be perfect. I have seen this result in children being home-schooled or hospitalized as they get into their teen years. A cognitive behavioral approach would help Nya with her rigidity and perfectionism – it would help her take her negative thoughts and possible catastrophic thinking (i.e. if I color outside of the lines, everything will be ruined) and turn it into positive thinking. I am hoping this mother is not attributing her daughter's behavioral/emotional issues completely to her giftedness, as that would be dangerous, and I hope that the professionals at this gifted school have the training to recognize what is beyond normal perfectionism.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  8. Alissa

    In theory this is a great idea. The problem arises, however, when parents are unable to pay the fine. I completely agree that it's the parent's responsibility to ensure their children attend school regularly. The problem, however, is that the number of single parents are increasing, therefore the number of children forced to be left unattended is rising as well. I think a better alternative would be for the child to pay the consequences for their own actions. We need to teach our children self-accountability. Our society is taking less and less accountability, blaming others for our actions (ie: I was abused, molested, etc as a child so I'm justified in killing 10 people). Make the truant children pay through community service and hold them accountable for their own actions and maybe we can change the thought process of people in this country.

    August 23, 2012 at 6:09 am |
    • ramblinman

      I think you may be asking too much of people who don't have a clue when it comes to raising children.

      August 24, 2012 at 2:44 am |
  9. evan

    if you dont want to go to class then dont go

    August 22, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
    • Steve

      You're a smart one there Evan. I don't want to go to work so should I not go either? Without a High School education you don't have much of a chance of living a fullfilling life. Unfortunately when you're in a high school, a lot of kids don't realize this. Maybe a 75$ fine isn't the best solution to get kids to attend school, but there should be a more of an attempt made to make kids go to school.

      August 22, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
      • Steve

        This could be a way for kids to get back at there parents when there not getting there way, I believe it's not a good idea, besides most states the property taxes pay for the schools overhead, these taxes come out of the parents income, they don't need more expenses.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
    • gc

      I am a (probably) over-educated (two advanced degrees,) fairly successful woman in my early 30s (but with no children, so maybe I would see this differently if I were responsible for another person) and it's simple to just flat-out disagree with what Evan says, but I personally support not having to go in as long as you're passing school or, as an adult, getting your work done at your office, etc. Do you think that the reason kids should go to school everyday is because they're in need of structured discipline? I mean, I anticipate that I will send my kids to school and I will make sure they go, but only because I don't want my kids to feel like they get to live their lives with special treatment.

      August 23, 2012 at 9:56 am |