Our View: School makes $190,000 after charging its students for detentions

DKS Editors

Ah, high school. Remember those days when your biggest issues were skirt length, the obscenities on your shirt, getting mad about not being able to chew gum and keeping your kicks tied tight? Well, 10 Chicago schools found a new way to penalize students for bad behavior: making them pay for it. Literally.

The Noble Network of Charter Schools earned approximately $190,000 from students after charging $5 for detentions — mostly a result of breaking school uniform and other minor infractions.

In a Huffington Post article, Superintendent Michael Milkie said that the strict environment provides for students who follow rules and produce better work. The network’s average is higher than other school districts, and 90 percent of those who graduate move on to higher education.

Milkie believes by “sweating the small stuff” they “don’t have issues with the big stuff,” but Julie Woestehoff, executive director of the Chicago advocacy group Parents United for Responsible Education, doesn’t think this is the most productive way to handle situations.

“We think this just goes over the line … fining someone for having their shoelaces untied (or) a button unbuttoned goes to harassment, not discipline,” Woestehoff said.

We have to agree.

Granted, we now realize that what we once considered funny behavior and fashionable attire was immature and ridiculous, but it’s not worth depleting students’ bank accounts.

Think of how many times a teacher rolled her eyes at you or you stuck a piece of wintergreen to the roof of your mouth to avoid trouble. If you were caught doing something stupid, you’d probably be reprimanded for a few seconds and forced to cease whatever you were doing.

In the grand scheme of things, $5 is $5, but, obviously, it adds up. Unless they plan on moving mountains with that money, there’s no need to charge students for simple mistakes.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.