By Kelly Chian, ’16
Any new policy may cause problems, as some students don’t see the effectiveness of a policy change in the same way as the administration. This happens to be the case with the newly updated attendance policy.
Assistant principal Jennifer Mox oversees the attendance policy. She talks to teachers and students if issues arise.
“Three minutes is considered tardy. After 20 minutes, you are counted as absent,” Mox said. “The frustration with the policy is usually with the students.”
The policy for tardies is progressive, as three tardies in one class translates to three lunch detentions and an additional tardy leads to four additional lunch detentions.
“I think the school-board-approved policy is just right. There may be a time overlap because the report was printed before the student brings a note, but that is just a matter of paperwork,” Mox said.
Senior Katie Kang said she believes the progressive structure is too harsh.
“With only a few tardies, you can end up with seven lunch detentions without even realizing it,” Kang said. “Being a few seconds late a few times shouldn’t result in such punishment.”
Some believe the emphasis on tardies is misplaced, pointing out that after a senior has accumulated three tardies in a quarter, his or her open campus privileges are revoked for the remainder of that quarter. Seniors might opt to skip an entire class and receive a Saturday School rather than arrive three minutes late for the third time and lose their open campus privileges for the quarter.
“At a certain point, there would be fewer consequences if I skipped the class entirely than if I was late,” Kang said. “I think that it is the opposite objective that the school wants, because being tardy and missing a few minutes is better than missing the class entirely.”
Mox sees showing up to school as the most important responsibility of a student. She wants students to be in class and on time.
“Students should be 100 percent aware of the policy… If the student is incorrectly given a report, then they should go to the teacher to fix the problem. This is better than just skipping the lunch detention,” Mox said. “Ask if you are unclear about the policy.”
Mox said the policy is fair because an unexcused absence has a consequence.
“We code things differently. Students are excused for school functions, religious holidays, funerals, and other events. The school tries to be flexible, so just ask and communicate,” Mox said. “Every student and situation is different. We can accommodate, for example if someone has a funeral on the day of Saturday School.”
Despite such accommodations, Kang sees the policy as not only unfair, but also implemented unequally.
“I think the system is messed up. The teachers are able to choose if they want to give you lunch detentions or not,” Kang said. “If the teacher chooses to ignore the fact that you show up late, then the attendance policy doesn’t have an effect.”