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Posted by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 7:26 PM
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NJ District Proposes Charging For Kids' Detention

Nutley Schools Wants Fines For Parents Whose Children Are Habitually In Trouble; If Not, Community Service Next Option

Christine Sloan


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Two Nutley High School board members are sponsoring a plan that would target students who are habitually sent to detention, making them pay up if they continue in their mischievous ways.





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Should a school system be able to fine parents whose children are repeatedly sent to detention?

It's the first of its kind in a New Jersey school district - a plan that would cost parents money for their children's punishment.

It's a proposal that has some parents in the Nutley School District up-in-arms, a plan that would make them pay the price for their kids' detention.

"I feel teachers should be responsible for detention. They should be staying after school if necessary. It's all part of it, disciplining our children," parent Mary McClean said.

"Taxes are high enough in Nutley. We shouldn't be paying for that," parent Debbie Dronke said.

Some taxpayers with no children disagree.

"I don't feel that I should be responsible for paying higher taxes. I think parents should start being accountable for their children," homeowner Lisa Maderichio said.

Two board members are sponsoring the plan that would target students who are habitually sent to detention.

Steven Rogers, who is also a police lieutenant, said the proposal would save the district $10,000 a year and force parents to be responsible for their kids.

"We're not looking to make money. We're looking to cut costs. We're looking to reduce the number of students that go to detention," Rogers said.

Some state educators call the plan a violation of New Jersey's constitution. Nutley officials said they'll look at community service for kids if the plan doesn't go through.

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"We're going to have a whole body of research before take any action and move forward," Board of Education president Philip Casale said.

Many students we talked to oppose it, saying at times they're wrongly accused or they get detention for trivial matters.

"You get detention for like forgetting you're ID and stuff. It makes no sense," student Dan Lopez said.

"Sometimes detentions are a misunderstanding. I think it's just not right. You're charged and you get falsely accused. That's another payment," student Matt Calella added.

The details, including the charge to parents, haven't been hammered out, but if the plan goes through parents would start paying for their kids' punishment next year.

Nutley officials want to stress the plan would not target students in elementary school or special education. Outside New Jersey, Philadelphia has a truancy fine where parents are charged $25 if their kids are found wandering during school hours.

by on Nov. 20, 2009 at 7:26 PM
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