Let’s take a look at the tardy rule

Through+the+looking+glass+into+tardy+detention.

Jonathan Bacdayan

Through the looking glass into tardy detention.

Recently, I have accumulated enough tardies to qualify for one detention. After much stress over what was going to happen, I was relieved to find out that it was ridiculous. I walked in, sat down, was asked my name, and then I waited for something to happen. When nothing did happen, I went on Twitter for an hour and then left. The most I did was fill out a sheet that asked me why I was in detention, and what I would do in the future to avoid detention. I thought about it for a moment, but I eventually went with “I was late to school because it was raining and I didn’t feel like hydroplaning,” because, in reality, it’s not worth crashing my car to get to school on time.

My experience in detention is besides the point, as the entire idea of giving detentions for being late is nonsense. I was maybe 30 seconds to a minute late at the most, and then after waiting in the line that was out the door, talking to Dean Michael Martin to schedule my detention, I had missed a fifth of my class. There is so much wrong with this that I don’t know where to start. Possibly the irony of making students late to class to enforce the late policy is missed on the administration.

Giving students detention for being late by a negligible amount doesn’t make sense. Punishments for extreme lateness I could understand, but 30 seconds to a minute after the bell rings? Many – I would even argue most – teachers don’t bother to start class or even take attendance for a few minutes after class starts. Furthermore, suspending good students from extracurricular activities doesn’t make sense for a late policy. I could understand if the students are frequent absentees, as they shouldn’t be able to go to a school program without being in school, but for being seconds late, not so much.

The policy at Dartmouth High for absences is ineffective, and so students abuse that. As administration has been cracking down on tardies, students have been skipping school instead of taking a tardy. Their options are waste time in detention and possible social suspension, or skip school and have no consequences. This isn’t a rare thing either; many students have been abusing the absentee policy because the tardy policy is enforced harder, and there are no repercussions. Multiple friends of mine told me that they have excellent grades in mostly AP classes, and simply choose to skip school if they are going to be late.

For the most part, this article has been ranting about the complete incompetence of the tardy policy, but legitimately, I would love to see the administration do anything or make any change to this system. It doesn’t benefit the students that actually have problems with their grades because of their lateness, and it harms those that don’t have those problems for little to no reason.

There isn’t an obvious or easy solution to any of this, as it is all very complicated, but there are revisions that can be made that improve the system in place. For example, the punishment for lateness shouldn’t be detention and social suspension, because that only affects the portion of the student body that participates in activities, which disproportionately targets those in sports and music. The easiest way to fix the issue that administration is having with backlash from the student body on this topic is to just use common sense. The golden rule here should be, “If a student will be made significantly more late simply because they had to wait in the tardy line, then the system is counterproductive.”