Got two tardies? Too bad...
BY PATRICK UHLMAN ON FEBRUARY 21, 2014
The alarm rings at 7:30am. You struggle to reach over and cut it off, collapsing back into your warm bed from the effort. The next thing you know your phone is ringing. You quickly answer it to find your friend asking where you are. That’s when you look at the clock which, to your dismay, reads 8:18am.
As you realize you are going to be late for school, regardless of what you do, you now have a decision to make. While some might immediately spring out of bed and begin preparing themselves for the school day ahead, you take a moment to think. If you show up late today, that will add a third tardy to the two you had gotten earlier in the semester. One from when you got stuck in slow traffic because it was raining, and the other because your friend took too long to get ready and kept you waiting. On the other hand, you’ve only missed one of your seven potential absences. So rather than get that third tardy and have to sit through after school detention, you decide to just roll over in your all-too-inviting bed, tell your friend to find another ride, and take the absence. It’s easier than dealing with the tardy anyways, right? Besides, you have stuff to do immediately after school, and that detention is just going to make things difficult.
That is the flaw with the current tardy system. It’s more convenient to save the tardies for when you can’t avoid them and to just not go to school once you’re already late; It takes so few tardies to be punished, and one absence isn’t going to hurt you in the long run as long as you manage them right.
Because of this tendency to skip school, many students end up missing much more than what they would had they just arrived a few minutes late. Instead of missing less than half of first period, they miss all four periods and everything taught in them as well as any other school related information given out that day. Depending on their classes, some students may not be very inconvenienced by this, but academically it still hurts them more than a tardy would. The missed work, notes, and other information can always be made up or obtained from a fellow student later. However, any extra information or explanations provided directly by teachers in class can’t always be recovered, and sometimes that is just as important as any notes taken.
The solution to this issue is quite simple and obvious: Allow more tardies before punishment. Let’s face it, being tardy happens, and even though the student is responsible and typically tardies are avoidable, we all still make mistakes. Additionally, being a few minutes late is much less detrimental than being absent, yet after being late only three times a punishment is already received. We’re all bound to be late at some point in our lives, and since it is a common and minor mishap, I believe we should be given at least 4 if not 5 tardies before being disciplined. It just makes sense, and I’m willing to bet that the rate of absences would eventually make a noticeable decline.