A Utah high school has come under fire for implementing a policy that will charge students money for being late to class.
Stansbury High School made an announcement last Tuesday that in an effort to curb tardiness, administrators will issue tickets to children who are not in class on time.
A student will first receive a warning for being late on the first offense, but if they are caught a second time, they will be given a $3 fine. After that, the fee climbs to $5.
Parents said they were not consulted about the new rule, which they received notice of via email.
“My initial reaction was kind of, ‘Is this serious? This doesn’t sound right.’ I had to read it twice to make sure,” Jessica Marshall Warner, whose daughter is a junior at the school, told InsideEdition.com. “Then I was angry. How can they implement something like this without having informed the parents first?”
The email was sent to parents on Aug. 29, a week after teens had started the school year and allegedly without any prior notice.
“We began the year with multiple communication strategies to ensure that all students clearly understand the expectations for being on time and the potential consequences,” the email said.
The email went on to lay out the new policy and asked parents for help reinforcing the importance of being on time. It also noted the school board had approved of the fines.
“I am still shocked that this was approved by the board," Marshall Warner said. "They should’ve approached the parents with this."
The announcement left students angry and anxious, she said, noting her daughter was especially upset with the prospect of getting into trouble.
“My daughter suffers from anxiety; she’s a good student, she’s not loitering in the halls, but she’s very upset,” Marshall Warner said.
Her teen is now worried about a doctor’s appointment or another conflict that would cause her to arrive late to school.
“It’s the good students who were outraged,” Marshal Warner said with a laugh. “[They said] ’Whoa, what did we do to have this fine thing [implemented]?’”
Marshall Warner said she called the school and spoke with Assistant Principal Cody Reutzel about the new policy, but said she left his office with more questions than answers.
“I asked about excused tardies, are they going to get accosted in the hallways?” she said. “He said the students who are walking with a purpose toward class... will not be approached. He said [the policy] aimed toward a specific type of student.”
Marshall Warner said she saw problems with the explanation she was given.
“It may initially change the loitering in the hall but I think in the long run you’re going to see more absences in the class than tardies,” she said. “Teenagers are not stupid. [They’ll think] 'I can go to class late and pay $3 or I can just skip class and pay nothing.' What would you do?
“Also, [if] it’s ‘aimed toward a specific type of student’... it’s not applied universally. Now you’re opening yourself up to discrimination complaints,” she continued.
The financial aspect of the policy is also troubling to Marshall Warner, who said some children might not be able to afford such a fine.
“If the kid doesn’t have money, who is going to end up paying it? The parents. And if parents can’t afford it, then what?” she said.
Students have drafted a petition against the new policy that's currently circulating through the school.
“They’re angry,” Marshall Warner said. “I do think the school had good intentions. I just don’t think it was thought through.”
InsideEdition.com reached out to Stansbury High School, which referred requests for comment to the Tooele County School District.
A spokesperson for the district did not respond to InsideEdition.com’s request for comment.