Parents, students protest school’s fines for discipline
The Noble Network of Charter Schools, which operates 10 high schools in Chicago, is being criticized by parents and students for fining students $5 for infractions such as chewing gum, violating the dress code or being over three minutes late for class.
The network reportedly collected close to $200,000 in discipline fees last year. That money was used to offset the costs of staff who administer detention after school.
“The goal is to promote positive behavior by staff and students and produce a learning environment that is conducive to learning and college preparation,” Michael Milkie, CEO and superintendent of Noble, said.
However, some say that this approach is counterproductive and simply hurts families who are poorer.
“We think the discipline system is ridiculously petty,” Julie Woestehoff, the executive director of Parents United for Responsible Education, said.
If a student gets 12 detentions, they must take a discipline course worth $140.
However, Muchin College Prep principal Kimberly Neal says that the methods used are productive.
“An example we always give students and parents: If you are late for work, would you have a job?” she said.
Other school officials said that there are students who manage to go the entire year without getting a single demerit, and, as a result, never to receive a $5 fine.