Opinion: Paying fees should not be a prom requirement

Students shouldn’t lose one of the most magical nights of the school year because their parents can’t catch up on school fees


Christian Bowen / Unsplash

For years, MCHS has asked students to pay fees in order to enjoy privileged like prom and graduation. But withholding prom denies students a chance to enjoy of the biggest highlights of the school year over something that might not be their fault.

Ruth Luqueno, Contributing Writer

Seniors regularly have to juggle their student life and after-school jobs daily, not to mention everything else they have going on in their personal lives. With everything going on in a student’s life, the last thing they should worry about is their parents or guardian paying their school fees. In addition to the burden of school fees, they are now told they cannot go to prom or be given graduation tickets unless the fees are taken care of. Paying all school fees should not be a requirement for students to be able to go to prom.

The 2022-2023 Student Handbook of MCHS has no mentions of fees being paid in order to go to prom. The only places fees are mentioned is in regards to graduation and open campus lunch. The handbook states “in order for students to obtain tickets for parents and guests to attend the ceremony, all fees must be paid by the established deadline,” in the graduation expectation section. In the student privileges and incentives, it states “students must have all fees paid or have an active payment plan.” Essentially, students are rewarded for their parents or guardians paying their school. Those who have the money are allowed to do more things while those who can’t pay are limited to certain things like prom.

The issue of school fees is anxiety-inducing in general, especially to students whose families can’t afford to pay them all at once. Students might feel at fault for wanting to go to prom and skip out all together because of this. It forms a feeling of guilt and sadness that not only their parents can’t pay, they are excluded from attending prom. Students are being robbed of an opportunity they can only get in high school because of something they cannot control.

Prom shouldn’t be held against families to get them to pay the school. Prom is expensive alone, being $110 this year, so paying everything is a handful for some. Each school year costs $260. If none of a student’s fees were paid in the 4 years of being in school, it could pile up to more than $1,000. Although the student could be paying for their own ticket, they should not be held responsible for what parents couldn’t pay in time.

There can be many factors as to why families aren’t able to pay fees right away. There are obstacles like having a big family and not enough income to not being able to legally be employed. Whatever the reason may be, it is a valid reason as to why fees can’t be paid. It is too much of a sudden announcement to make that type of money in a short amount of time. Students should not be held responsible for this.

In some instances, there are students who are financially responsible for things they want or events they want to attend. That can lead to the assumption that it is completely possible for the parents to pay their school fees or even be paid by the student. While that is possible, it is not the case for all. Some students with jobs do help their parents financially, whether it be buying groceries or simply letting them borrow money for other expenses. Though this shouldn’t be put on a student’s shoulders, it is a real thing that impacts many.

A parents financial situation should not burden a student and their high school life. A student should be able to live freely with the only worry being keeping their grades in check. Applying financial pressure to them can add unnecessary stress to their lives. The school should not hold a fun event like prom against them for something their parents are responsible for.