Running late? Just skip first period — really

If administration wishes to address tardiness with stricter policies, they must also address the problem of students simply skipping class to avoid repercussions of detention. Students forego missing only a few minutes of classes and getting detention in favor of staying home a little longer, missing a whole hour of learning and not really facing any consequences.

However, it isn’t Bear Creek’s responsibility to change this policy — the solution needs to come from the district. Lodi Unified, not Bear Creek, has control over unexcused absences, and they alone have the power to punish students for them. A lenient absence policy and a strict tardy policy will not work together, and Bear Creek and the district must therefore come up with a compromise between the two. The current system (and the future tardy plan) encourages students to skip classes rather than miss only a few minutes of them and simply incentivizes students to skip class.

School policies should work to minimize the amount of school students miss, not encourage ditching. As leaders of our schools, Bear Creek’s administration and Lodi Unified officials must be able to properly communicate to correct this issue. A simple addition of lunch-time detention for tardies will not deter skipping classes. In fact, the increased, stricter policies will only further encourage ditching rather than being tardy. Students won’t want to face the threat of social probation and (hopefully actually enforced) lunch-time detention and so even more will miss class to avoid the consequences.

By making even stricter tardy policies, Bear Creek is worsening, not solving, the current problem. If they truly wish to punish students more severely— the administration must get Lodi Unified officials on their side so that neither tardiness nor unexcused absences are appealing to students.