Students slow to adjust to tardy policy changes

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Christine Neak, Staff Writer

Due to the rise in the number of tardies last semester, especially in first period, a new tardy policy was enacted at the beginning of January.

Before, the old tardy policy stated that the parent or guardian would be contacted when a student had one tardy and the student would have to attend Saturday school.  Now, students who are late to any period a second time, or any other time thereafter, are assigned after-school detention and parents are notified again through the automated calling system.

All students must be in their seats when the tardy bell rings; if not, students must go to the attendance office to get a tardy pass to class.

Students who do not serve detention are placed in in-school suspension for a day.

More students are late to first period than any other period.  On average, 150 students per week are late to their first period.  That’s five times more than any other period.

The first detention in the second semester took place on Tuesday, Jan. 14.  Forty-eight students were assigned detention, but only 12 students attended. Thirty-eight chose not to attend detention and those students received in-school suspension.

“All I can say is that we will continue to refine the policy until we find something that works,” Principal Bill Atterberry said.  “Last year’s policy was ‘1-tardy = Detention,’ but there were no interventions between assignment of the tardy and off-campus suspension.”

Most students say they either weren’t aware of the new policy or are strongly against it.

“I didn’t know that there were any changes at all,” junior Amy Yang said. “It’s still pretty harsh but two warnings sound like less of a pressure on us.”

“Last year I was late only one time but I still went to detention,” junior Linh Nguyen said. “I still think it is unfair to students.”

It may just be that students aren’t well enough informed about the policies at the school and this does have an effect on them. Or it could be other reasons such as students not fully accepting the consequence of their actions.

“Such a policy doesn’t really reflect reality; life does occasionally happen,” Atterberry said.  “But it would be a shame to resort to Draconian measures for all students because some students don’t have the self-discipline they need to get to class on time and take responsibility for their actions.”

So far, teachers say that the new policy is working well.

“My students know that they cannot come into class after the bell rings, unless they have a pass from the office,” English Teacher Twilla Cancilla said.  “I have very few issues with tardy students and the tardy policy.”

“I believe it is very effective as compared with four years ago,” Earth Science  teacher Steven Augusto said.  “I would still like to see more students disciplined who are obviously cutting classes and wandering around campus.”

At the end of the quarter the administration will review the number of tardies and detentions and make further changes if warranted.