The Tardy Regime

Last year, three students walked into the attendance office. The students were told they were going to receive detentions, so the boys walked out and drove home.

Earlier that morning, they were led to believe that their tardy would be excused. They were held up at home entangled in a family issue, and when they realized they were going to be late the boys mother naturally called the school to let them know.

Upon arrival they were let down. Bursting out of that office with shouts behind them, they decided to disregard the policy and enjoy their day, only to take the blow later.

Nerves were calmed with a meeting with Mr.Jindra, where the three apologetic boys accepted punishment for breaking the rules. The punishment came in the form of truancy school which, in their eyes, was better than sitting in math and serving a detention that should have been excused. But the embers of anger were still there, and the tardy policy is still an issue.

San Juan Hills High School tardy policy is as follows, if you are going to be late have your parent call the office to let them know and they will prepare a pass.

Yet, “SJHHS has a zero tolerance for tardies; a parent phone call does not automatically excuse any assigned consequences” says the website.

So what does this mean? How is a consequence assigned to an excused tardy? After further research in the Student Discipline Handbook, which was recommended by the administration in the discipline office, I found the same policy under Infraction number Twenty Eight.

 “Tardies: the SJHHS Zero Tardy Policy means being late to class is not acceptable.

  1. Any student not in class at the tardy bell is considered tardy.
  2. Students who are tardy to class (starting with the first tardy) will be sent to CSI by the

teacher and lunch detention will be assigned.

  1. After 4 lunch detentions, the consequences will be progressive.
  2. If a student comes to class more than 15 minutes late without documentation, the student is

considered truant and should be sent to the Assistant Principal’s office.”

This means that there are no guidelines for being tardy except that it is inexcusable, at least in all student documents. Yet someone with a doctor’s appointment or some other legitimate sounding reason may be let off. This is a little flimsy. Almost as if punishment is left to the discretion of the office for each case. Sounds a little lacking in structure or care. Let me give a more personal scenario.

On Wednesday October 15, my car wouldn’t start after a surf competition in the morning. My dad had to come and jump it and as the minutes started to click away I realized I was going to be late. I called my mom and told her to call the school so that I would not be marked truant. With that, I drove my car, that would not idle properly, to the mechanic and from there my dad drove me to school.

I walked up to the excused tardy window and attempted to sign in. I was told that a car breakdown is inexcusable. I stuck my head in the window and asked politely, yet angrily, if they were really going to punish me for something I had no control over. After a few heated exchanges and my refusal to accept a detention, Vice Principal Mr.Salter was called in.

As I sat in his office and gave my account of the morning, he sat and listened attentively. He understood and proceeded to tell me his side of the issue, the more strict and administrative side of the story. I came to realize that their rules must be followed if you want to get what you want.

He decided that I was technically at a school event, and that if I was on time for that event then I was on time for school. He then went on to perform a background check on me and looked at my past tardy history, which was fairly clean. I was told that I would be let off, but if he noticed a recurrence he would need to punish me.

I left with a feeling of triumph. I had fought my case and I had won. Yet with more thought on the event, a disgusted feeling entered my soul. I should have never had to fight for that cause. How could it have been such a problem for them to just let me go to class instead of wasting our precious time? Is our tardy system so flawed that one must take it to the Vice Principal to avoid undeserved punishment?

A reworking of school policy is always a great idea as a way to progress and stay ahead in education. I call for a change in the current tardy policy in the school. There are more important things to deal with than minor understandable faults in our schedule.