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I was saddened and felt great empathy for Emily Booth and her daughter written about in this past Friday’s Galax Gazette, upon learning the daughter had been denied her diploma on graduation day [due to a school policy regarding unpaid fees].
Therefore, I decided to do a little research and here is what I found: Whomever levies a fee at school must also supply the parent with a clearly stated fee waiver that the parent can apply for.
In the Iowa Guidelines, which should be similar to Virginia’s, the student is eligible for the waiver if they are in state custody or foster care, receive public assistance in the form of Aid to Families with Dependant Children (AFDC), or Supplemental Security Income or are eligible for free lunch.
According to the Virginia Board of Education, the school districts are required to have “a clear policy in place and to inform low income families of how to get such cost waived or reduced,” according to “The Source for Recent Developments in School Law (2010),” by Associated Press.
Also in that article, it says the Virginia Board of Education prohibits schools from suspending or expelling students, withholding their schedules, report cards, or diplomas, for failure to pay fees.
I hope this information will help Mrs. Booth and her daughter to receive her diploma she so richly has earned.
I might also suggest she should apply to the American Civil Liberties Union, which at this time is fighting for a similar case in California. Also, since the daughter has ADHD, her rights might have been violated and she might want to connect with the Rights of the Disabled Program.
Rebecca Bond Moore