Charter School Group Charges Mostly Low-Income Parents For Kids' Detention

Apr 24, 2014

What would happen if parents had to pay a fee for a child's misbehavior in school? 

Parents in the Algiers Charter School Association pay $25 when their kids get Saturday detention.

Anna Brimmer’s seventh-grader got one when he cursed at school. Brimmer had to stay with her son at Saturday school and pay the $25 when it was over. She says she’s never heard of that.

But Algiers officials say paying for detention is common in other places. Jefferson Parish does it, but they charge families even more — $75.

If you can’t pay the money, then your child gets suspended. Algiers spokeswoman Kesana Durand says the fee is an “investment” because students talk to a social worker about their problems.

It’s only the first year that the six Algiers schools have charged for detentions, so it's not clear that the program will lower suspension rates.

And the fees may be excessive for some: more than 90 percent of students are from low-income families.