New Attendance Policy Seeks to Sweep Away Tardiness
By Maxwell Miracle, Staff Writer
The time is 8:10 AM, and the all too familiar toll of the school bell accompanies a newer, even more dreaded sound. Throughout the building, from the English hallway to the main gym, doors are slamming shut. To those not yet inside their classroom, the noise means they have been caught up in a tardy sweep. Separated from their classmates by locked doors, they must make their way to a sweep station, where they will input their information and be escorted to their class by a key-bearing adult.
Five times a day, five days a week, this ritual repeats as part of the school’s new tardy sweep policy. Determined to combat chronic lateness that has run rampant for years, the Jaguar Start on Time Program was designed by an Attendance Committee made up of teachers, administrators, and counselors. It has been widely applauded by staff but has drawn both ire and praise from the student population.
For many teachers, tardy sweeps have brought much-needed relief from the disruption created by late students. “Once a teacher gets a class going, it’s hard to get
everyone on track when you have people constantly coming in and out,” said Mr. Paul Naanou, mathematics teacher. “This effort to group all the people who are tardy and bring them in at one time makes it less difficult for a teacher to keep class going.”
In addition, students, attempting to avoid the stigma associated with being swept up and the assignment of detention after reaching 10 unexcused tardies, have made an increased effort to reach their classes on time. “This is the first time I’ve ever seen kids running to class to beat the bell,” said Mr. David Adams, mathematics teacher.
Support for tardy sweeps has been less unanimous within the student population, with some criticizing them as counterproductive. “If someone is late by one minute, and they have to go all the way to a tardy sweep station, it’s going to make them even more late,” said Alek Ryan (10). Furthermore, some students believe that the tardy sweeps are unfair, especially in the morning, because of outside influences such as weather and traffic.
Other students, however, see the implementation of tardy sweeps as a positive change. “When you’re missing class, you’re missing a lot of information from the teacher,” said one senior.
While the student body debates the merits of the tardy policy, school administrators appear encouraged by its effects. “Overall, I think there is a trend down in the number of tardies,” said Mrs. Gabriela Ritchey, the assistant principal who oversaw the implementation of the sweep program. “I think what we’re doing is impressing upon them the value of being on time and being ready and being prepared.”