May 19, 2023


Allie Everhart

Despite a state law that says “A student may not be issued a monetary fine or fee as a disciplinary consequence,” students at MCHS continue to receive tickets from the McHenry Police Department for their behavior in school.

These past few years, MCHS students have faced many challenges — a global pandemic, the change to Freshman and Upper Campuses, a move towards blended learning and a nationwide mental health crisis, to name a few. As a result, the school has faced problems with student behavior and attendance.

Police records show MCHS students received 223 tickets last year and this year combined for various misbehaviors.

For the 2021–22 school year, police issued 52 tickets at the Freshman Campus, most often for possession of tobacco products and disorderly conduct. This year, the number decreased to 18, commonly for disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of cannabis. Records the Messenger obtained did not include data for May 2023.

The McHenry Messenger obtained documents from the McHenry Police Department that showed that, though student ticketing is down at MCHS since last year, several tickets have still been written despite a state law stating that students should not be issued a fine or fee as a disciplinary consequence. (Nikki Sisson)

At the Upper Campus, which houses sophomores through seniors, students received 90 tickets last school year. These were often for unlawful possession of cannabis, possession of tobacco products and disorderly conduct. There were 63 tickets this year, most being for unlawful possession of cannabis and disorderly conduct. Again, records obtained by the Messenger did not include data for May 2023.

The most common offenses are all local ordinances of the City of McHenry.

Possession of Tobacco Products, ordinance 6-5A-31(D), includes electronic cigarettes, components, alternative nicotine products and liquid nicotine. Violating the ordinance is a “petty offense” and fined according to the Fines and Penalties Table on Title 15, Chapter 1 of the McHenry, IL Code of Ordinances. Not including other associated costs, the fine reaches up to $150.

Disorderly Conduct, ordinance 6-5A-4, broadly covers “any act in such unreasonable manner as to alarm or disturb another and to provoke a breach of the peace.” A fine of $200 comes with each violation, according to the Fines and Penalties Table — not including other fees.

Unlawful Possession of Cannabis, ordinance 6-5D-2, constitutes purchasing, possessing, consuming, or using cannabis if under 21 years old. Exceptions under the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Program Act and the Community College Cannabis Vocational Pilot Program exist. The Fines and Penalties Table shows a fine of $200 plus other associated costs. 

Overall, the fines for local ordinance violations range anywhere from $25 to $500, excluding other associated fees.

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