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Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
East High School students tear up their citations as they walk out of class to protest the $5 truancy citation policy in Salt Lake City, Friday, March 30, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — About 100 students at East High School walked out of class Friday in protest of a tardiness policy.

The policy, which was implemented in 2010, allows teachers and administrators to fine tardy students for each infraction. The $5 fine can be waived for a 30-minute after-school detention session, but students say the fine makes the policy unfair.

"I think they're being way intense about this," said student Jazmond Clemons. "It's ridiculous."

The fines, they say, add up quickly and cost them money that some may not have. Clemons said she had about $300 in fines.

"It costs the students a lot of money, and there are a lot of low-income families that can't afford to pay $5 per kid," said student Sam Moody.

Other students claim that they simply don't have enough time to get from one class to another.

"We get here early, but it's the fact that you're trying to get to class, and you're trying to get to your locker and your locker is on the other side (of the school)," Rose Nusi said.

Administrators, however, disagree with that point. "We've actually timed it ourselves going from the bottom floor to the top floor," said assistant principal Martin Yablonovsky, "so we feel it's enough time."

Administrators say the policy has helped improve the promptness of students, too.

"There's fewer tardiness this year, so we feel the policy has been working," Yablonovsky said. "Out of our 2,000 students, over 95 percent of our students are in class on time, so we're talking about a real small group of students."

East High School administrators do offer other options for chronically tardy students who, like Clemons, have astronomical fines. The school recently hosted a 5K and offered to erase four citations for students who attended the event.

The school currently has no plans to change the policy.

Contributing: Viviane Vo-Duc