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Students, faculty scrutinize new attendance policy

Sophia Bassi
After-school study hall is set up to take place Sept. 14 in classroom O-345. Students partaking in the study hall are required to remain in the room for the full 90-minute duration.

The administration introduced a new High School attendance policy for the 2022-23 school year, which includes enforced consequences for unexcused absences and tardies.

To reflect the difficulty of the pandemic, Director of Student Life James Perry said students experienced fewer consequences for tardies and absences during the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

“We made a choice to be a little bit more lenient over the last couple of years,” he said. “What we found was that teachers were in class and not able to get started because students weren’t there or students were taking breaks and coming back after a long period of time.”

As a result of leniency around attendance, Perry said students were absent in class frequently, which hindered learning and elicited a “general feeling that we wanted students in class more often.”

According to the Code of Conduct, students will be required to attend one after-school study hall for each unexcused absence received. A student with more than three cumulative unexcused absences in a semester will receive closed campus indefinitely. Meanwhile, a student will attend one after-school study hall following their third unexcused tardy in a week and will receive closed campus indefinitely after exceeding ten unexcused tardies per semester.

We want students in class for the entirety of the class and that was really the essence behind some of those bigger changes.

— Director of Student Life James Perry

Margot Crawford (’24) said the attendance policy has notably increased consciousness around punctuality.

“[The policy] has helped me be more focused and more mindful of times and when I should be planning out my morning schedule,” she said. “I’ve noticed that my friends, during passing times or lunch, are not pushing it to the last second to get to class.”

On the other hand, Arthur Sadrian (’23) said the policy is unnecessary since most students did not struggle with attendance previously.

“There were people that skipped class a little bit more than was probably advisable,” he said. “That said, it was a very minute portion of the school, and it wasn’t really representative of who we are as a student body.”

Moreover, Sadrian said any outliers in attendance should be handled on a case-by-case basis, and thus, there “doesn’t need to be a rule in place for the general population to follow.”

According to the Code of Conduct, there has similarly been a shift in the threshold between unexcused tardies and absences. Students who arrive to class within 10 minutes of the start of class are deemed tardy, while students who arrive 10 or more minutes late are marked absent. Long breaks during class will also have consequences that could include after-school study halls.

Perry said stricter timing distinctions were drawn to address students arriving late to class and taking extended breaks.

“Those students didn’t benefit from a full class and their classmates and teacher didn’t benefit from having them in class,” he said. “Ultimately, we want students in class for the entirety of the class and that was really the essence behind some of those bigger changes.”

Overall, Crawford said she thinks the policy will help students practice time management, a skill useful beyond high school.

“Time management is so important and so many people, including myself, struggle with time management,” she said. “Holding kids responsible for that in high school is important.”

It feels like they don’t trust us as students to take responsibility for ourselves.

— Arthur Sadrian ('23)

On the other hand, Sadrian said students should have the ability to hold themselves accountable without external policies.

“It feels like a bit of a blow to have the administration do all of this backlash for no apparent reason,” he said. “It feels like they don’t trust us as students to take responsibility for ourselves, which is ironic because high school is supposed to teach you how to be responsible for yourself.”

Ultimately, Perry said most students will be unaffected by the new policy, while others will benefit.

“For a majority of our students, this policy won’t feel any different or affect them in any way,” he said. “For some, hopefully, it’s a positive step that will help them just become more responsible students.”

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About the Contributor
Sophia Bassi
Sophia Bassi, Lead News Editor
Sophia Bassi (’24) is the Lead News Editor for The Standard. She began exploring journalism in Grade 6 on the Middle School newspaper, The Scroll, and sees journalism as a powerful way to inform the community. Outside of The Standard, Bassi is on the Sustainability Council and plays competitive tennis.

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