You wake up to the sound of a car pulling away from the driveway. It’s your mom, leaving for work; suddenly, you jump out of bed and see that it’s 7:45 in the morning! You rush downstairs, get together a rushed lunch, and head out to your car. As you drive to school 15 minutes away, you realize that you’ve left your work at home, but you don’t have time to head back. As you sprint up to the classroom the bell rings. When you get inside, your teacher hands you a detention slip and asks you to sit down. It’s 8:01.
Sadly, this is a very common event here at Santa Rosa High School. According to our school’s tardy policy, you could get a detention for being even just a couple seconds late to class one time. And by late to class, they mean out of your seat. For somebody who does clubs at lunch and sports after school, a detention might not be so easy to make up, and even for students that aren’t so busy, it can be a real hassle, especially if that person gets several detentions that start piling up. This is especially relevant with prom on the way, seeing as three or more detentions can keep you from going.
This isn’t to say that there shouldn’t be tardy detentions; without them, people would just show up to class whenever they wanted and there would be no consistent way to teach a class, let alone teach it well. Someone could just show up for the last thirty minutes of class every day and still get credit for that class.
However, it is very harsh to offer up a punishment like that for a student’s first offense. Since you can get up to 19 skips for a class before suffering any real consequences, many students will simply ditch class instead of showing up late and getting a detention.
Not only does this hurt the students’ education, but, seeing as the school gets money based on how many students are present, the school would lose money directly as a result of these absences.
The solution to this problem would be to embrace a three-strike type method. Students would get three tardies, within a five-minute leeway period, before getting a detention. This way, students can get those extra five minutes to make it to class the two or three times that they are late before being given a detention.
This is a policy similar to the one that is already in place in Santa Rosa Middle School, with the only difference being the five-minute leeway period. Nobody abuses it there, as there aren’t exactly a lot of opportunities with which to abuse it.
Adopting a policy like this would better the education of students and decrease the amount of money lost by the school, without having any obvious consequences to deter it from being enacted. For the sake of the students and our school, I would greatly urge that this policy be enacted.