Tardy Policy Needs Improvement
By Lauren Lubin
Every high school has a policy when it comes to students being late, but these policies are often interpreted differently among students, teachers, and even administrators. At Novato High School, the tardy policy has been changed and adjusted multiple times throughout my four years. It is a mystery what the official policy actually is, as many teachers interpret it differently. This causes extreme confusion for students.
Assistant Principal Greg Fister, who oversees multiple activities and aspects of NHS, including attendance and discipline, described the official tardy policy. Most of this information was quoted directly from the Student Handbook (Novato High Planner) and a detailed description of the policy can be found on page 18.
“If you’re late when the bell rings getting into a class, you are tardy,” Fister said. “Once you get five tardies you get one hour of detention, seven tardies is two, and nine tardies is three. If your job said you have to be there at eight and you come in at eight and fifteen seconds, you’re late.”
Truly enforcing this policy is only possible if all teachers follow the same set of rules. Here at Novato High School, most teachers are not fully aware of the specifics of the policy. All teachers were sent an email from Principal Matt Baldwin, stating that they are required to take attendance within the first 10 minutes of class. Some teachers take attendance early or late depending on the flow of the class and the amount of students that walk in late.
As described in the hand book, too many tardies result in detention. With detentions, students are required to sit in the library for one to three hours, and are not permitted to use any kind of electronics. These students have to work on something academic. The issue with this is that the majority of students’ classwork is on Google classroom, which requires the use of electronics.
Fister talked about his view of how effective a detention is toward improving a students behavior.
“I think it all comes down to the student deciding whether they are going to change their behavior,” Fister said. “When you get a consequence, you have to change your action. So it’s whether or not each person decides they’re going to be on time now. I personally wouldn’t want to do a detention Friday from 3:30 to 5:30, so I would never be late because I don’t want to lose my Friday afternoon.”
Senior Harrison White discussed his views on how detentions affect a student. White hasn’t had much of a problem with the tardy policy, but he did recently receive a three-hour detention for an excess amount of tardies.
“Detentions serve much more effective for underclassmen rather than juniors and seniors, they just get more upset and angry at the school,” White said.
White believes that if anything is to be changed about the tardy policy, students who walk into class one to three minutes late should not be marked tardy. White suspects that this would lower the amount of tardies and decrease the amount of students that have detention.
For the official policy to work, there has to be cooperation between the administration, teachers, and students. It’s no secret that students have trouble getting up in the morning which causes the excessive amount of tardies, especially towards the end of the year. An ideal tweak to the policy is giving students two to three additional minutes in the morning to get to their first class, since students are approximately one to five minutes late. It would diminish the amount of tardies, including detentions that are given and increase cooperation among students.