Things have changed a lot since I was a high school student back in the early 1980’s. But for all that’s changed, one thing clearly remains the same: Some kids just cannot get themselves to class on time.
Coming in late to class is disruptive and, some would argue, shows a lack of respect for the teachers and other students who managed to show up on time. But while tardiness is an age-old problem, a school in Salt Lake City has a brand new solution: Making students who are late pay a $5 fine.
East High Principal Paul Sagers says that teachers may use their own discretion when levying the $5 tardiness fine and students who can’t or won’t pay can attend 30 minutes of after school detention instead. While this may indeed end up a being system in which only poor kids get detention, Sagers says it’s working already.
What I have noticed as an administrator is students aren’t lingering anymore in the hallways. They aren’t stopping and talking, there’s not enough time. They just want to get to class.
The money raised from the fines will go toward paying the teacher who stays after school to oversee detention.
I think this is a great idea and much better than the way tardiness was handled in my own high school. It was a large school on a large campus and the time allotted to visit your locker, go to the bathroom and get to your next class was often not enough. Because of this, I was habitually late for P.E. and eventually paid a painful and humiliating price for my tardiness: Three whacks on the butt with a wooden paddle wielded by a very enthusiastic female gym teacher.
I would have preferred a fine.
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