Getting kids up, dressed, fed, and ready for school is no picnic, as most parents can attest to. Things happen, and once in awhile you might not exactly make it to school on time. Punctuality is important, but what if bringing your kids to school late resulted in you being fined each and every time?
That’s exactly what’s happening at Winter Garden Academy in Essex, England, and the school is facing backlash.
If parents consistently bring their children late to school after 9 AM, they can face fines up to $100. If the fine isn’t paid within 21 days,it will be doubled, as will the anger from parents, one would imagine.
Needless to say, the new policy is facing its share of critics.
Its bad enough them getting fines when they go on holiday,” said Anne Bull, whose granddaughter attends the school. “It is a step too far, people are struggling as it is.”
“Its just a money making opportunity yet again,” chimed in another parent. “Most of the parents on Canvey are probably single mums that wont be able to afford the fine anyway.
One lawyer, Ray Howard, is working to help parents fight the fines.
“Headteachers have an exceptionally hard time with this and need to maintain good attendance to protect the school, he said. “However, I believe under exceptional circumstances parents should not be punished.”
The fine would be issued by the Essex County Councils ‘Missing Education and Child Employment Services’ department to each parent or carer for each child.
If the fine is not paid within 28 days, parents or cargivers could be prosecuted for failing to ensure their children attend school regularly.
There are clear links between attendance and attainment, and every lesson really does count,” said Essex County Councils Ray Gooding. Parents have a legal duty to ensure regular and punctual school attendance. Schools should have their own policy on how long to keep registers open.”
If a pupil arrives after the register has closed, schools can then refer the absence to our service as unauthorized,” he continued. “If the Essex Code of Conduct criteria are met, penalty notices can then be issued as a last resort.
Yet, there are some people who do agree with this new policy.
This is not the nanny state, this is a Headmistress rightly insisting children come to school on time, and do not just waft in when it suits them and/or their parents,” one parent argued. “Punctuality is a life skill, not an optional extra!
So that brings us to this question: Should parents be fined for bringing their kids to school late?