Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Repeal that $50 fine for being late to school

Published:Wednesday | June 14, 2017 | 6:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

On Monday, Principal Rayon Simpson of St Andrew Technical High School (STATHS) stirred up an ant nest with reporters of his policy of a $50 fine or detention for students coming to school late.

Mr Simpson said his policy was agreed by the school board and it's parent-teacher association.

While Education Minister Ruel Reid said it is against the Education Act, Mr Simpson boasted about an 80 per cent improvement in the punctuality rate.

Let's look at the 80 per cent increase. If STATHS is attributing that to the $50 fine, that reasoning is flawed. I strongly believe the dramatic improvement in punctuality is mainly due to the detention option, not the $50 fine option. If you ask a student which option they would rather, the overwhelming majority will choose the fine. For

example, a student who hates mathematics - which is scheduled on Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, for an hour and a half - that student will budget $50 for those three days. So, my question is, because detention is an option and sending home

students for lateness is unlawful, how can you stop a student who decides to be late every day, knowing the mandatory option is a fine? I've been seeing the trends of schools - it's a place for business not learning again.

My recommendation to STATHS is to repeal the $50 fine and make detention mandatory, not an option. The 80 per cent punctuality rate STATHS is boasting about will be in the 90s.

Many students don't want to spoil their school records, and for the persons who don't care, they will continuously be doing community services or facing the shame of cleaning the school.

The schools should send the right signal to students that lateness is not an option, lateness cannot be bought. If the Ministry of Education endorses this new policy, teenagers will go into adulthood thinking they can buy their way out of indiscipline.

Teddylee Gray

Ocho Rios, St Ann