Trouble on Time: The Attendance Policy Dispute

Anisa Rachman, Editor in Chief

With the start of the new school year, the administration has made it a priority to emphasize the enforcement of school policies. However, after reviewing the school code with all the grades, many students opposed some of the attendance policies, claiming that they’re too harsh. “I think it proves that the school has no faith in their students, which makes students even more likely to rebel or break the rules” stated Junior Sydney Emmel. “A school where students don’t feel respected or trusted is not a healthy environment for learning.” 

According to Vice Principal, Mike Potter, these policies have been in place for a couple years already and the administration is only making students aware and putting an emphasis on them. Potter clarified, “I think it’s important to build up the students’ academic stamina and get them back on track. This was a way to be transparent with students and say ‘here are the expectations and if you don’t follow them, this is what could happen”.

One policy that many students have concerns with is the code that states that if more than 10 days are missed from a class a student may be dropped and the lose credit. While the student body understands the need for some of these policies, they are also concerned with how it may affect other students who struggle with things at home. “The school board doesn’t know what goes on at home for some students. Sometimes they’re unable to be at school, not because they don’t want to go,” Sophomore Olivia Stopko refuted. “While I think some students just skip to skip, the entire student body shouldn’t be punished for the stupid actions of one person.” 

However, during an interview, Potter stated that the administration would be flexible with students who are struggling with illnesses or family problems. “We are not looking to drop anyone. I would prefer to go the whole year and not enact this policy,” Potter reassured. He states that this will allow the administration to have conversations with the students and their families about their attendance and make a plan to improve it. 

While the student body may not be all in favor of these policies, many teachers see positives with them. Joshua Karsjens commented, “I think it’s great. Many students didn’t even know we had a policy for attendance the last few years so it’s nice to have clear expectations and consequences. I’ve worked at schools where students were dropped from a class after 6 tardies, so ‘10 absences’ is still pretty lenient.” 

When asked if he thinks these policies are fair, Karsjens said he believed that it will prepare students for the real world and having a job. “ Productive, responsible people are valued more in the workforce,” he stated. Making up work that you miss and letting your teachers know ahead of time when you will miss class is a great skill to develop while in high school. 

“Kids will come to a school so they don’t fail, not cause they actually care,” Stopko noted. Students and teachers have mixed opinions on whether or not these policies will actually improve attendance. Many students believe they will still be ignored even after reviewing them. Sophomore William Carhoff stated, “I think this won’t entirely improve the attendance rate like the school wants it to. Some students will still find loopholes through the system. C’mon, we’re kids. We get crafty…”. 

However, Karsjens along with other teachers believe that this will help attendance. “students know there will be clear consequences,” Karsjens commented. “Plus, mathematically speaking, if 10 is the limit students won’t accumulate 30, 40, or 50+ absences.”

It’s clear the clash between students and administration over policies is still ever so prevalent. With the majority of the student body being against the attendance policies and teachers and administration believing they will fix the problem, it shows there is a clear divide. Communication between students, administration, and staff is the root of the problem. While reviewing the policies at the beginning of this school year was a start, there is still a long way to go before the issue can be resolved.