The Line Between Tardy and Hypocrisy

December 17, 2007
By Jeebus Black, Springfield, AK

Slam! The door is shut seconds before reaching the class as a student sprints down the hall. This is a common site this year as every student at Concordia has noticed, there is a new austere tardy policy being implemented with some radical changes. Yes, tardies still need to be given to students who are late for their class, but there is a much more logical and pragmatic way to go about it. A few enhancements to the current policy is all that is needed, and although teachers and students do not feel the same on this matter, common ground can be achieved. Although the new tardy policy is in some ways effective, changes can be implemented to maximize the convenience and efficiency for both students and teachers.

The students feel that the new tardy policy is problematic to say the least. The students are confused why the door is being shut on them. Students understand that punishment should be given for being late, but shutting the door, and forcing students to miss even more of class is a marred practice. If the student is already late what is to be achieved if he or she is only sent down the hall to fill out a form that can take ample time out of the warm-up or beginning of class. The first few minutes of class are often the most important, papers are received from either the previous class period or for the work to be completed that day. Often there are warm-up activities and notification of what will be taking part in that class. “The importance of setting the tone from the commencing of class cannot be emphasized enough states Dr. Tim Slater.” (Slater 1). The students are not asking for an entire eradication of a “tardy policy” but only a few changes to optimize class time for the students. Believe it or not many students do want to be in class to learn and better themselves and it is troubling when the authorities of the school will not listen to their reasoning, only skeptically brushing them off for thinking they only wish get out of trouble. A shared feeling between the students at this school and the students at Roosevelt High is that “The students don't discount the need to crack down on tardiness -- just the way the school has gone about it.” (Robinson 1)

Teachers on the other hand, for the most part, understandably have a different perspective on the new harsh tardy policy. The want students in class on time no matter what, this is this bottom line and the crux of the argument to whether advocate the new policy or to ameliorate it into something more useful. The teachers and staff have been cracking down on tardies and claim it is the only way to reduce the future tardiness of students. The harsher the policy the better results is their thought, and although this may generally be true, when dealing with the emotions of an entire student body with their own ability to think, this is simply and utterly the wrong course of action. The purpose of a tardy policy is to keep students from missing class, and a policy in which students are required to miss class in order to receive punishment is hypocritical and defeats all purpose of the tardy policy. Also a valid point as Matthew Roberts says, “If the teachers were using engaging techniques, then kids would want to be in class," he says. "If students really understood the opportunity and potential that education can provide for them, there wouldn't be a tardy problem."” (Robinson 1) This shows that there should be no real need for a harsh policy, this responsibility falls on the shoulders of the faculty and the students body.

The changes being proposed are in no way radical, they are simple, efficient, and time saving. What is being proposed is when the student is late for class, they are to arrive as soon as possible and head to their seat. It is up to the teacher to record the tardy with a simple check in a placed box next to the students name on the attendance sheet. This practice is already being put to use in the Montgomery County Public School District and in their handbook it states, “The classroom teacher is responsible for taking student attendance. The document used by the teacher to record attendance is the source
document.” (Montgomery 1) The attendance sheets are already picked up sometime during the class period, and when the sheets arrive at the front desk, it is a simple task of typing the names out into some computer program that may be implemented by the school or simply into a word document to be saved under the date of that day. Thus the names can be checked upon later or used immediately to fill out “tardy forms” to deliver to the enforcer of the system. Although in this solution the need for any tardy forms may be eradicated as the word document with the tardies for the day may simply be emailed to the enforcer of the policy so he will have a simple list to read instead of a stack of papers to go through.
The punishment for any reception of tardies does not need to be changed, and the current policy is being implemented across the nation of the three tardies to a serious punishment. This policy is efficient and allows the student a few slip ups before being severely punished as no one is perfect.

As you can see, the changes to the current tardy policy are logical and easy to apply. It would require almost no effort on the part of the teacher, and since the front desk attendee already has to fill out tardy forms for students arriving late to class, the work load would be the same or in some cases even less. The student body is upset that their requests have been ignored, and their intentions mistaken. This new policy is undoubtedly a solution to the problem of missing class, while still dealing the same
punishments as before. It is truly what would be best for everyone.

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