Students have the option to pay a $20 fine to get out of detention at this Sydney school.

The Bede Polding Catholic College in Sydney allows students caught with chewing gum or permanent markers to either spend two hours in after-school detention or pay up.

But the rule has been slammed as ‘stupid’ by parenting experts, shares Daily Mail.

Principal Kevin Jones said the fine covered clean-up costs for the mess those items caused.

‘It is one of the things we put in place just to highlight to the kids that the damage they do with things like chewing gum does actually cost all of us in the school money.’

He said the two-tiered punishment system was about educating students.

Parenting experts disagree

However, parenting expert and author Justin Coulson has called the system ‘stupid’.

Dr Coulson said it was a band-aid solution that would not fix the bad behaviour.

University of Western Sydney education lecturer Dr Katrina Barker said it was a way of allowing students to buy their way out of a punishment.

She told the Daily Telegraph it would be better if they made students clean up the mess themselves.

A discussion on TODAY found the hosts saying it was just ridiculous and outrageous.

Comments on the Facebook discussion include:

– “How does that teach them anything other than being able to buy their way out of trouble???”

– “No just teaches wealthy kids to be brats. In a world where children are getting more and more entitled doesn’t this just feed the problem.”

– “How about they can “pay” there way out by exchanging the detention time with time spent doing good deeds like community projects….I think that would be a worthy alternative.”

– “No. It teaches them nothing and more affluent kids will be able to get out of detention and those who can’t afford it won’t. It’s not a fair system.”

– “Detention is a consequence of poor actions…………..money doesn’t pay for a lesson which needs to be learned, aside from which the parents will pick up the tab in most cases, which teaches children that you can buy your way out of trouble. Why must everything equate to MONEY.”

Does it just teach kids they can pay their way out of any trouble??

Share your comments below

We may get commissions for purchases made using links in this post. Learn more.
  • I’m not sure how I feel about this. It makes sense when explained but still unsure.


  • Bad message to send to children if the one they get is they can buy their way out of trouble. So I guess it depends on how well the situation is explained to children so they can see the damage they caused and the fact it costs to clean/fix the damage. The second is a good lesson to learn.


  • I think this hits the parents and the poor kids the most! Who is really learning from paying a fine. Maybe they should pick up rubbish around the school or plant plants


  • It’s a handy way for schools to raise some funds. My mother used to pick us up from school so if she had to wait two hours for one of us she would not have been happy. If she had to return for one of us she wouldn’t have been happy. So she may have just forked out the $20 to avoid a hassle. Although once again she wouldn’t have been happy and would have put me to some sort of slave labour. Either way the kids cannot avoid telling the parents..


  • I can see both sides to this, but I can tell you I wouldn’t be paying for my kids to get out of detention.


  • Not the lesson we should teach our kids indeed.
    A better lesson would be to have them clean it up themselves.

    • I agree – you mess it up and you clean it up. Being accountable is important!


  • And…..where does the money go – how it the money accountable? Seems to be a lot of questions?

    • There would need to be transparent accounts for clean up fees!


  • Of course that’s what its teaching them. But don’t we already have a similar system in place for adults with fines? I wouldn’t like this at all if it was brought in at my kids school, we teach that if you ruin something you help fix it. I doubt it’s costing the school $20 for someone to remove one wad of gum.

    • While it may not cost $20.00 to remove one lot of chewing gum the school’s aim may be to deter the child from doing it again. Some children are given too much pocket money and it may not make a big hole in their savings. Some parents wouldn’t think twice about paying the fine. I hope the school gives parents notification of detention before starting it so they know their child will be late home from school.


  • Unfortunately it’s what often happens in life but definitely not a lesson that should be encouraged at school.


  • I think they should still do the detention but if their actions cost the school money maybe they should have to contribute as well !


  • It’s quitr a lot to ask from a student, who sometimes gets only that for pocket money for lunches. I think it sends a very bad message


Post a comment
Like Facebook page

LIKE MoM on Facebook

Add a photo
Your MoM account

Lost your password?

Enter your email and a password below to post your comment and join MoM:

You May Like


Looks like this may be blocked by your browser or content filtering.

↥ Back to top

Thanks For Your Star Rating!

Would you like to add a written rating or just a star rating?

Write A Rating Just A Star Rating