The consequences of being tardy

October 29, 2012 — by Carolyn Sun

Despite speed-walking to school, you are about to be late to first period again. Desperate, you break into a run and manage to enter the classroom just as the second bell rings.

Despite speed-walking to school, you are about to be late to first period again. Desperate, you break into a run and manage to enter the classroom just as the second bell rings. You are out of breath, slightly sweaty, and still burdened with heavy textbooks that would be in your locker if you had arrived to school earlier. Fortunately, though, you just avoided receiving a Saturday school, the consequence of being tardy six times in the same class per semester.

Students who are assigned Saturday school must come to school on Saturday morning and work on school assignments from 8 a.m. to noon. Teachers supervise the detentions, which are being held 25 times this year.

While many other violations, such as inappropriate cell phone usage or cutting class, can cause students to receive a Saturday school, tardies are the most common, according to assistant principal Kevin Mount.

“Tardies are usually for first and fourth period. Sometimes we’ll have students who are late coming back from lunch,” Mount said. “Kids tend to miss their morning classes more than miss their afternoon classes.”

Sophomore Alana Hess, who received Saturday schools for tardies last year, said she was usually late for the first period of the day.
“I have to walk to school, so if I would leave a little bit late, I’d be [tardy],” Hess said.

Although Hess thought Saturday school was “boring” and too quiet since she enjoys listening to music while working, she tried to make the best of the situation and use the study hall productively.

“I usually just brought homework and did that,” said Hess. “I brought a blanket so I would be comfy while doing my homework, like I was at home. I also had [a Saturday school] right before a final, so I was writing up my [biology] notecard for the final. It was good study time.”

In the past, some teachers have tried using alternative punishments in addition to marking students tardy.

Back in 1999 and 2000, Health teacher Amy Obenour forced her tardy students to sing nursery rhyme songs, such as “I’m a Little Teapot” in front of the class.

“Knowing it was embarrassing for some people to sing in front of a crowd, [I came up with this policy] to curve the amount of tardies that I had,” Obenour said.

At first students tried harder to be on time, but after awhile, they thought the singing was fun and arrived late intentionally, Obenour said.

“I caught on quickly that they were enjoying it and doing it on purpose, and so I just eliminated it,” Obenour said. “[The punishment] just became more of a management issue and took up more time than I wanted it to, so it kind of backfired.”

Although the more creative punishments may not be as effective, Saturday school seems to motivate students to avoid being tardy.

“It would get me to really open my eyes about being late, and I haven’t gotten one this year,” Hess said.

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