Fining Teens for Ditching School Will Make Even More Kids Drop Out

moneyWhen I first heard that some high schools across the country are fining students for tardiness and ditching class, I thought, Huh. Maybe that's not such a bad idea. I might have been more motivated to be at school on time if I had to fork over $20 whenever I missed the bell.

But then I found out how much the schools are fining kids, and it's not $20.

Far from it. Teens (which of course means parents) are being forced to pay fees in the neighborhood of $500 for skipping school. In Concord, California, it's actually illegal for kids under the age of 18 to be out of school without a valid excuse. And some kids are being fined for lesser transgressions like cursing. Apparently in Texas, one student (who must have a mouth like a truck driver) racked up over $600 in swearing fees.

That's not solving a problem, it's creating another one.


Sure, maybe fines like that would make a kid with an already decent attendance record think twice before skipping, but habitual ditchers? The kids whose behavior inspired this policy in the first place?

They'll probably just end up dropping out altogether.

Think about it: Obviously, for some reason or another, school is already the last place these teens want to be. Maybe their distaste for academics stems from an undiagnosed learning disability, maybe they're sick of being bullied. Maybe they're working a couple of jobs to help their family make ends meet and can't make it to class. Whatever the reason, it's safe to assume their parents or guardians aren't overly concerned, or they would have put a stop to their child's skipping themselves. Why would they help their kid pay a $500 fine? And If mom and dad aren't going to open their wallets, how is a teen supposed to come up with that much money?

So the options boil down to dropping out of school entirely or ,,, what? Selling drugs to pay off tardiness-induced debt? Shoplifting? 

Yeah, that's a great plan.

Do you think fining teens for ditching school, being late or cursing is a good idea?

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