The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Counterfeit currency circulates through student store

Skylin Lui
A side by side comparison of a real U.S. dollar to a counterfeit one (the counterfeit is shown on top of the authentic) shows how easily one could be mistaken for the other. The similarities led the counterfeit bill to pass as the authentic one for snacks at the student store.

The recent use of counterfeit money at the Carlmont student store has caught the attention of parent volunteers and school officials. 

The student store on Carlmont’s campus sells popular drinks and snacks, such as whole fruit, popsicles, ice cream sandwiches, and fruit snacks. Volunteers manage the store and the profit proceeds between the Parent-Teacher-Student Association (PTSA) and the Associated Student Body (ASB) to fund programs and events, such as school assemblies and dances. 

However, for the past month, students have exchanged fake bills for real money to purchase snacks and drinks offered by Carlmont High School. These bills have led to stricter policies regarding the payments that go through the shop.  

The source of this issue was a group of friends who playfully brought the bills to school.

“It all started in summer camp. One of our friends brought origami money for the little kids to give at the end of the week. However, it got confiscated, so we just kept all the money and ended up bringing it to school to see if it would work,” said John Pablo*. 

Not all students were intentionally taking advantage of the student store.

“I used counterfeit money at the store, but I wasn’t aware that the money I was borrowing from my friends was fake,” said Sally Miller*.

Many students, however, have claimed that the fake bills seemed noticeably fake compared to the real ones. These students described the fake bills as having a much smoother and plastic-like texture, as well as having labels of origami. 

While the money had a clear indication of being a prop, school officials were quick to inform volunteers operating the student store and received notification immediately. 

“We were just told to really slow down and check the money carefully,” said Janice Hsieh, a parent volunteer for Carlmont. 

The effect of this system has had minimal impact on the students and volunteers who use the student store during lunch or after school hours. 

“Having to check each individual bill hasn’t slowed down our process more than a few seconds per transaction,” said Lisa Bock, another parent volunteer at the student store. “But it has definitely heightened our awareness of students trying to fool us.”

This is an actual crime, paying with fake money, so I know some volunteers are trying to give kids a warning before reporting them to the administration.

— Lisa Bock

Despite the uncertainty of the long-term effects this situation could have on Carlmont’s student store, many students are quick to dismiss any concerns.

“The student store already profits a lot of money off these students already,” Pablo said. “The few fake dollars won’t hurt the school.” 

The volunteers, however, express concerns about the use of counterfeit bills.

“This is only my second year working at the student store,” Bock said. “Based on the reaction of the volunteer team, it sounds like this is the first time they have encountered this type of behavior. I was really surprised to see students trying to pay with fake money, honestly.”

Regardless, none of the students at Carlmont have faced severe punishments from officials yet. The severity of the issue has had a noticeable impact on the store’s volunteers’ actions toward students caught with counterfeit money, however.

“No one wants to see a student arrested, but it could happen if they continue to try and get caught,” Bock said.  

*These names have been changed by the writer in accordance with Scot Scoop’s anonymous sourcing policy. 

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About the Contributor
Skylin Lui
Skylin Lui, Staff Writer
Skylin Lui (Class of 2026) is the sophomore class president at Carlmont. This is her first year covering for ScotScoop. She looks forward to covering campus and being a staff writer. Outside school, she enjoys art, hanging out with friends, and baking.  

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