Oklahoma high school’s new punishment for tardiness, missing class has parents seeing red

High school kids who enjoy playing hooky from time to time might want to reconsider their naughty habit now that one high school in Oklahoma has chosen to fight back.

According to local media, any Muskogee High School student caught habitually either showing up late to class or not showing up at all will henceforth be hit with a whopping $250 fine.

Is this legal, though? You bet. According to a state law, students may be fined up to $250 and even incarcerated for up to 15 days if they repeatedly fail to show up to class.

“We had some attendance issues, so this is one of those ways that we’re trying to combat,” principal Kim Fleak said to local station KTUL. “It’s important to us that these kids are in school, in the class, receiving that instruction and having that time with teachers in seats.”

Sure, but is this perhaps a step too far? Some students and parents certainly believe so.

“There’s no way that I could afford a $250 fine,” Johanna Hondy, whose daughter attends Muskogee, complained. “I don’t know anyone in this town who can afford that really.”

One tenth grade student, Abigail Cochran, said her concern wasn’t with the attendance part of the rule but rather tardiness aspect. She pointed out that Muskogee hosts a huge campus and that sometimes tardiness is simply unavoidable.

“People are going to be late. Going from one side of the campus to the other,” she said.

The new rules also reportedly bar students from wandering through the hallways during lunch, reduces their lunch time and lengthens their class time.

“There are people wanting to drop out of school because of this, because they know they can’t pay these fines,” Cochran said, adding that her peers have launched a petition and may conduct a walkout if the rules aren’t repealed.

Over at Fox News, the comments regarding this story were divided, with some people siding with the students and others siding against them.

“If you can’t afford the fine, walk you kid into class. There are other people that are actually paying taxes, many with no kids of their own, for your kid to attend school,” one frustrated reader wrote.

A user by the name of Ekras145 seemed to disagree, writing, “Home School your children – not only will you not get fined, they will actually get a real education instead of liberal indoctrination.”

What do you think — would you want your children to be fined for being habitually late to class or not even attending at all? Or do you believe the punishment for such behavior should be left to you?

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Vivek Saxena

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