The Flaws Of The Tardy Policy

My experience being late to class and the consequences.


Emily Roberts. junior, late to class.

Sabrina Jaynes, Journalist

The tardy policy is a system created to train kids not to be late to class by using what some may consider to be harsh penalties. For each quarter of the school year (around 45 days), students receive consequences for each tardy they have in a class. With each tardy a student gets, a parent receives an automated phone call and the teacher talks to the student.

  Students are allowed a limit of three tardies per class before actual restrictions are put in place. Once that student reaches a third tardy, they automatically receive an entire day of in-house suspension. Not just one period for the class they were late to, but a whole day.

  If the student is tardy after that, totaling four, they are then suspended for one day. Each tardy after that, the student adds on another day of (out of school) suspension.

  Although it is reasonable to punish a student for purposely missing class, there are some things that keep a student back that they are not to blame for. The school’s handbook states that teachers may not keep students in class, causing them to be late to another. Unfortunately this rule is not always followed.

  This policy also does not this take into account our shortened class times. In most classes, there is not enough to time to finish the lesson, causing the students to stay after to hear the rest of the information or to grab their homework, which leads to tardies in other classes.

  Another way upperclassmen are late is when they return back from lunch. Most days, as you are coming back in to the freshmen building, the gym doors are locked. This leads a student to either rush around to the front office or wait until another student inside sees the horde of desperate students outside and unlocks the doors for them. Students leave rocks in the door, so they can still exit the building, but come back in time for class. This ends up just being a guessing game, as there is no definite locking schedule.

  This year, I received my first in-house detention. Although I had previously been late my past two years, I had never gotten in trouble for it. I received it for being late to my 5th hour class, the one directly after lunch. I did not skip class, nor did I show up to class at an unreasonable time missing any important information. I received a phone call home after that day explaining I was late, but I was not aware of my in-house status.

  The next day in my 1st hour class, I was pulled out in the middle of a lesson to the front office. I was told I had in-house at the end of the week, and of course, I was appalled. I was missing a whole day of learning for being late to one class. Three times. Over a 45 day period.

  I was aware I made a mistake by being late, but how does missing all my classes justify these actions?

  The office handed me a paper that, right off the bat, conveyed what the school assumes was clear directions. They used bold letters and underlined sentences, as if I needed it to be amplified to me on what to do. They made sure to let me know to bring any books I may need (multiple times), and to fill out my assignment sheet on the back (which they never checked).

  It stated on the paper that this rule was made to help keep discipline, but I figure I have at least a little bit of it by the fact that I can take AP classes and keep up with the work; nor does any other student being late show that they are undisciplined. They are still attending school for their education.

  The day of in-house I showed up promptly on time to room 12. This room was small, white, and isolated; the only posters hanging were full of rules and regulations. Each of the desks were facing the wall to discourage communication.

  Immediately, the teacher explained that a new rule was in place – any student who had a cell phone on them must give it up to be placed in a ziplock bag and put away in a cabinet. If a student was caught with one, they would be suspended for three days.

  The first teacher in the room went around collecting phones. One student had put a case in his bag in which the teacher assumed it was a cell phone, even after the student said repeatedly he didn’t even own one. This caused such a ruckus that security was called to deal with the “troublesome” student hiding his property.

  In the end it turned out that there, in fact, was no phone.

  Most of the day was spent sitting at the desk attempting to do homework. There were three laptops available to use, which helped somewhat with the homework, but it was impossible to do some of my homework.

  I had no idea how to do it, as I was missing the lessons during the day. The lessons that I attend tend to be high-pace, making it hard to catch up with any missing work. In some cases, teachers decided to change the homework on later in the day, so I had to grab it and redo the correct homework the following Monday.

  Throughout the day we had three figures of authority watching over us, each with a different attitude. As the teachers shuffled in, students would shuffle in at times if they only had in-house for one period. It seemed to have a constantly changing atmosphere.

  My final thought on in-house? It was a waste of time. Students should not be missing out on their education because they are tardy to class. In-house treats these average students as if they are disobedient on a deeper level, which may cause kids to act up, because what’s the point in trying if you are just punished anyway?

  In a way, in-house is more destructive than just a simple punishment.