Monday, January 07, 2013

School Supplies

I've written many times about the illegal fees charged in so many of California's classrooms.  Our law is extremely clear, even though it's ignored to the point that my own school district, whilst having policies that comport with the law, also lists teacher "student supply lists" right on our district's web page!

It's a lonely battle to fight but I do in fact fight it.  I don't know what the law is in Michigan, but I'm glad someone there is picking up the fight:
School may be on break but school supplies are causing quite a controversy in Birmingham.

The parents of a 6th-grader at Derby Middle School have filed a lawsuit, possibly a class action suit, against Birmingham Public Schools claiming the district is violating state policy by asking families to pay for supplies used in a public school...

"This lawsuit doesn't have any merit," said attorney Timothy Mullins. "There is nothing inappropriate about asking parents to pay for certain school supplies."
I don't care which way the law goes; either parents can be asked to pay for certain things, or they can't. What I can't tolerate is having a law that is clear and explicit--and totally ignored.

Hat tip to reader Steve K for the link.


allen (in Michigan) said...

It's understandable that the lawsuit came out of B'ham. It's an upscale area so the parents who live there have the resources to hire a lawyer, if they're not a lawyer themselves, and the inclination to not simply accept what the local school district dishes out.

The problem is that this sort of nonsense will require a court fight in every district that engages in the practice since the incentive for the district is to continue the practice.

maxutils said...

The sad thing is . . .this is easily fixable. Why on earth would you require that notebook? It's reasonable to require kids to provide their own paper and writing instruments, but I've never worked at a place where we wouldn't give them to students . . . the problem here is that they require the purchase of something specific to the school, at the school's price. Parents should be allowed to find the best deal. The lock? Don't sell the thing -- give it to them, with the option to buy, or charge them if it is lost or damaged. The gym uniform? Set a standard, like blue shorts and a white t-shirt, offer them for sale, or let parents buy their own. Parents may or may not be able to do better than $19 . . .which seems reasonable to me . . but, in what PE class do you not tneed to have appropriate clothing? By the same logic, one could argue that since kids need to have appropriate clothing in school, the girl who prefers only to buy tube tops for her personal life should have the school pay for her new school friendly wardrobe. The real problem is school supplies specific to the curriculum -- like lab fees or material fees. One would expect that if the school has a ceramics program, that they know that that involves the purchase of clay, just like a mathematics course requires the purchase of textbooks.

Sally Smith said...

New process to file complaints on illegal school fees was effective on Jan. 1, 2013 - California Education Code sections 49010-49013(AB 1575)
This is alternative to a lawsuit.Appeal to California dept of Education may result in returning money to students - all of them. Law is decades old but new process. Fees have become an expected entitlement. Several Uniform Complaints are winding through the process now.

Darren said...

Thanks, Sally, for letting me know this. I'll blog it right away.