There was a recent article in the Tyee about students self-excluding from field trips, due to financial concerns:
A public school system is intended to provide all children with an equitable education, regardless of their family’s income. That means school fees should never stand in the way of a good education.
Sometimes, however, it’s students or their parents standing in the way. Faced with having to admit poverty, or knowing that asking for their parents’ money will elicit an “I’m sorry, we can’t afford it,” students exclude themselves from field trips, courses, or other educational “extras” that come with a price tag.
As a reminder to parents, school district 57 has a financial hardship policy for students:
The Board of Education of School District No. 57 (Prince George) is committed to ensuring that no student is denied an opportunity to participate in a course, class or program because of financial hardship.
The administrative procedures as laid out in policy are as follows:
- All communication with students and/or parents regarding fees and deposits must include a statement that explains that fees will not be a barrier to student participation in school activities.
- Schools will publish, at the beginning of each school year, a schedule of fees and deposits. This schedule shall include reference to the procedures that can be followed by students, or parents on behalf of students, who would otherwise be excluded from the course, class or activity because of financial hardship.
- Schools will establish a hardship application process that is clear to students and parents. All staff members should be aware of this financial hardship provision and be able to advise students and parents with regard to access.
- The procedures for addressing financial hardship must be clearly communicated to parents and students and should be conveyed in such media as the student handbook, the parent handbook, student planners, newsletters and/or the school’s website.
- The hardship application process may be formal or informal. The process must always, however, respect an individual’s privacy and dignity and adhere to strict principles of confidentiality and fairness.
- All requests for support will be considered by the school. The school should consider, but not be limited to, the following options: deferred payment, payment over time, partial waiver or full waiver.
Schools that are not following these policies should be reminded of policy 5101.