Colt Roundup

Students Fined for Running Behind

Veronika Rimer, Section Editor

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Alarm clocks screech as students roll out of bed at what feels like the crack of dawn. Regular morning routines become rushed while a blizzard rages outside. Shoveling snow, traffic jam, running to class, tardy ticket. Nobody can really predict the weather or when bad things are going to occur.  Why are students fined for running late, when in some cases it is not in their control?

Tardy tickets are given to students for being late to class, yet filling one out makes them even later. Some students avoid going to class if they are running late because they don’t want to risk the chance of receiving a tardy ticket and being fined. McKenna Keyes, a senior attending Cottonwood High School stated, “I avoid class if I am tardy so I don’t have to pay fines, so I miss the entire period and lose education just so I don’t have to pay five dollars and risk the chance of me not graduating for unpaid tardy ticket fines.” Not only do tardy tickets prevent students from going to class, but they also force students to miss information given at the beginning of class. Education is a number one priority in schools,  though tardy tickets are taking more time away from student education.  

Low income families who have to pay for tardy ticket fines have more financial stress due to the fact that they are already living paycheck to paycheck. Many of those families are on fee waiver, making school more affordable and opening up opportunities. Tardy tickets are not covered by fee waiver, making it almost impossible for parents to pay for them when they can barely afford to put food on the table for dinner. Kids without jobs and parents in debt cannot afford to pay tardy tickets.  Geoff Murdock, the assistant principal at Cottonwood High School, explained how he could help low income families. He informed Colt Roundup that “we will give them an opportunity to do some service for the school and work it off so they don’t have to come up with the money. We will pay them 5-7 an hour.”

Though tardy tickets cannot be excused, Mr. Murdock explained, “If any kid can go a full two weeks without having a tardy or an absence, we will tear up the ticket anyway. All they have to do is keep the yellow copy, come and show me, and I’ll verify from that day and on that there have been two full weeks and if there is then I will throw it away. There’s too many tickets to go through to check everyone so you must come and tell us.” Out of 32 students surveyed, not one person knew about this concept. Those who are hardly late and receive a tardy ticket only once in awhile could have gone two full weeks without being tardy or receiving an unexcused absence are missing out on this opportunity because they didn’t know. Autumn Riddle, a senior with multiple tardy ticket fines, stated, “It would have been nice to know that this could happen. Four years of tardy fines are built up in my account, almost half of those would no longer exist if I was aware of this policy. Not having any tardy ticket fees right now would make my life a lot easier.”

Fining students for being tardy is almost comparable to teachers being fined for not updating grades or taking a chunk out of their paycheck because they are late to class. Teachers would have their jobs on the line, just like unpaid tickets may prevent students from graduating. Accepting the fact that unpaid tickets might prevent graduation for some students, Mr Murdock said, “..Don’t be late in the first place.”


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1 Comment

One Response to “Students Fined for Running Behind”

  1. chloe collins on November 8th, 2016 2:45 pm

    I agree with this article and I love the colorful diction in the first paragraph!


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Students Fined for Running Behind