March 22, 2012 13:12 by Nina
Students at the Noble Network of Charter Schools now know better than to fool around in the hallways and in class. That’s because the schools impose fines to students for disciplinary infractions. The network of 10 Chicago charter high schools have strict dress codes, fining students for everything from gum chewing and untied shoelaces to cell phone possession.
Having collected nearly $200,000 in fines in the last school year, the charter schools are under scrutiny from parents and other advocates. The fees are seen as a measure of harassment, not proper educational discipline.
The infractions, also called demerits, can accumulate to require presence at a summer behavior class that costs $140. Superintendent Michael Milkie praised the network’s high graduation and college attendance rates and referred to the structured, disciplined environment as having a profound positive effect.
Proponents agreed the network has few fights and other behavioral problems compared to other area high schools. Also mentioned was that the fines fund after-school detention moderators and a dean of discipline, which otherwise would have been financed out of the network’s general education budget.
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