Class cutting myth unveiled

November 30, 2008 — by Ben Clement, Alicia Lee and Nandini Ruparel

Sometimes, due to blocked traffic on Highway 17 or other unforeseen circumstances, teachers are tardy to their own classes. While some students may bolt for the door immediately, others sit in apprehension—watching the clock and waiting, hoping and even praying for the minute hand to reach 15 minutes past the start of class: the magical moment when it’s OK for the class to leave without it being considered a cut. Right?

The truth is, there is no real “15-Minute Rule.” Leaving the classroom without any teacher’s consent is considered a cut, and there are penalties.

This urban legend has been around since middle school days, and students have always assumed it to be true. So much so, that when one teacher showed up 13 minutes late, his entire class groaned thinking they were a mere two minutes away from freedom. However, for those students who do leave the classroom, they go unaccounted for and their safety is in the school’s hands.

Some students have already realized that this is a myth, and are working to spread awareness to peers who may be under a false impression.

Where has this idea come from? In some colleges, there is a written rule that says that if the professor does not show up in class in a certain amount of time, the class is dismissed. It is used solely for purposes of saving time.

“If a professor has something like an emergency meeting, they don’t have to go and dismiss their class. It is used as an automatic dismissal,” said assistant principal Karen Hyde.

However, college rules do not apply at Saratoga High and those who choose to ignore school rules or who simply have a misunderstanding regarding school policies may be held accountable and will pay the consequences. Hyde said that if students are waiting for a teacher who has not showed up, they should notify the office after five to 10 minutes.

Students have mixed feelings about the rule, and some feel that a more college-like rule should be implemented here.

“I think [the rule] should be true, [and] we should have it,” said junior Sam Li, “because it’s [the teacher’s] responsibility to teach us and show up.”