Tardy policy enforcement: It’s time for consistency

February 1, 2011 — by Rohan Rajeev

The hallways are empty except for a few other students. Your calves hurt from walking so fast, but getting to class on time is what you’re more worried about. You hear the first tardy bell ring seconds before you walk into class.

As you enter the room, your teacher glares at you and makes a show of marking you tardy. You slouch in your chair, not knowing that in the next classroom, a student has just entered the room and not been marked tardy. This inconsistency leads to some students being treated better than others.

While there are more lenient teachers who allow their students close to five minutes after the tardy bell before submitting role, other teachers insist on taking attendance and marking students absent the second the bell has rung. For such unlucky students, if they amass six tardies in the class they are automatically punish to a Saturday school.

The problem is that while some students may stroll into class late every single day, other students must face strict consequences after a mere six tardies. The enforcement of the tardy policy at Saratoga seems unfairly inconsistent.

Recently, the school handed out a large number of punishments for Saturday school on the weekend before semester finals. However, no warning was delivered to students before the punishment was given.

Warning notifications help the students learn when to arrive at school, and in the bigger picture, help minimize the number of Saturday schools that are assigned. When the punishment includes something as serious as a Saturday school, there should be no students who are let off the hook of being late because of lenient teachers

The previous school policy required teachers to fill out a referral slip from the office in order to give a Saturday school. It proved to be a major inconvenience, and now, assigned Saturday schools for tardies are distributed automatically, which makes assigning Saturday schools much more convenient than it was previously.

This added convenience causes students with six or more tardies to be more susceptible to get detentions than ever before. However, if those tardies are not marked, then the students are off the hook, which is unfair, considering that their offense was the same as the students’ who actually received the Saturday school. When the punishment is something as harsh as a Saturday school, it is important to make sure that no one is unfairly treated.

So saying, it will be good for the school to implement a stronger tardy enforcement policy, which would require teachers to all be consistent with giving tardies when the bell rings, as they should. Students would not have to worry about which teachers are lenient, and which are stricter, and would be assigned Saturday schools when they deserve it. If the tardy policy could be tweaked in this way, the injustice and imbalance of tardy punishments could be solved.

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