Administration changes tardy policies, targets students with consistent attendance issues

December 16, 2019 — by Jonathan Li and Viraaj Reddi

Starting soon, those who skip their Saturday school  punishment won’t have the option of simply making up the time through in-house detentions. Instead, offenders may also be required to fulfill additional community service. According to the school’s attendance policy, five tardies or three cuts can result in a detention and failure to attend a detention results in a Saturday school.

Now, if a student does not attend Saturday school, students should face tougher consequences. Besides community service, these could include the loss of privileges such as access to sporting events, dances and off-campus lunches for juniors and seniors. 

The community service option will be offered on a case-by-case basis, assistant principal Kerry Mohnike said. 

  “We’re already getting in contact with senior centers and other facilities,” Mohnike said. “We want to create an alternative to having students sit in a classroom for four hours.”

Sophomore Adithya Peruvemba said he supports this new system, citing it as a “better alternative to detention.”

“In detention, you waste your time in a single room, which doesn’t benefit you or the community,” Peruvemba said. “Doing community service helps you learn your lesson and the public gets more help because you volunteer your time.”

Others were skeptical. Sophomore Vignav Ramesh said that though the benefits of community service were obvious, students could easily abuse the system. 

“If people know that all they get from being tardy is a community service, which they’re required to do anyways, then they might think it’s fine if they make mistakes,” Ramesh said. 

Though Ramesh still believes the system has strong potential, he believes it must be tweaked before it’s administered, such as to include consequences outside of community service. 

In general, Mohnike hopes that students will be less inclined to be late to school or cut classes if they know the punishments will be more enforced and tougher. 

“There were very few cases of privilege suspension last year,” Mohnike said. “This year, we’re enforcing cut and tardy policies.”

She hopes that students can realize the importance of getting to school on time, and make it become a habit before going to college or getting a job. 

“We want our students to develop a habit of being on time before then,” Mohnike said.

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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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