ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Students work 12 years to walk across the stage and receive their diploma, but some high school seniors in Albuquerque may not get to walk with their class because of a fee.
It’s not because of bad grades. It’s because they have fines to pay.
However, one parent who spoke with KRQE News 13 said he’s refusing to pay up.
Ray Madrid, whose daughter is a senior at Sandia High School, got some bad news Monday morning.
“She sent me a text saying that administrator at Sandia called her in and said that she had a missing book that needed to be taken care of before graduation, otherwise she wouldn’t be allowed to participate,” Madrid said.
That means if they don’t pay the fee for the book, Madrid’s daughter can’t walk for graduation.
Madrid said the situation stems from his daughter’s sophomore year. He said she was required to check out the novel “Anthem” for her English class and when she was done with it, she returned it to the book room.
Now, the school claims they never got it and want Madrid’s daughter to cough up $20.
Madrid said it’s not about the money, it’s about the timing.
“Here we are 12 days until graduation and there’s a book missing,” he said. “Why didn’t they ask about it during registration for her junior year, or registration for her senior year like they should have?”
Some students agree.
“I don’t really think it is fair,” Sayli Dehoyos said. “Now I’ve been checking on my books and keeping them organized to make sure I don’t have to go through the same thing senior year.”
“I think they should inform everyone a lot sooner and if they have to make phone calls home to let the parents know, ‘hey, your students is missing book,'” Madi Wyman said.
Madrid said he also has concerns about the way the school distributes books.
“When they look at the students’ schedules for that year, you get a math book, a history book, a science book, then next in line. You can’t keep track of anything like that,” Madrid said.
Albuquerque Public Schools declined to go on camera, but said this is fairly common. APS pointed to a district policy that said the district “may withhold grades, diplomas, or transcripts for damages or loss of any instructional material.”
APS said normally it only restricts students from participating in their graduation ceremony.
It’s a policy Madrid doesn’t agree with.
“There’s other parents out there that are having the same aggravation about missing books, or some kind of lab fee that wasn’t paid,” he said.
APS told KRQE News 13 that graduation ceremonies are “a privilege — not a right.” The district couldn’t give us numbers on how many seniors were notified of outstanding fees, but said that it’s common.