October 24, 2007
By Colin Knoth, Springfield, MO

Students’ being late to class has always been a problem. Even when I was in elementary school I remember walking in late to class at least twice a week. But if students are late to class, what is the proper way to handle it? At Kickapoo High School, the administration believes the ‘sweep’ is the best and most efficient way of dealing with tardy students. However, the sweep takes too much time and causes students to miss more class time than they would normally. The sweep is a hassle and should be done away with at Kickapoo.

First, the sweep takes too much time. Students who are late could be missing important information during the beginning of class while they are getting swept. Many teachers cover important things during the first fifteen minutes of class, including test dates, homework assignments, or questions about previous days’ work. However, the teacher is not going to wait for one or two students who are getting swept to cover all of this information. If there was a big test in a class one day, for which the students would need the entire time to work, the student who was swept would miss fifteen or twenty minutes of valuable test-taking time. Someone might argue, however, that with or without the sweep, students would still be late and miss that part of class. This is true. But it is better for a student to be late and miss part of class because it was their fault, rather than to miss even more class time because they are being detained by the school. Therefore, the sweep can potentially cause students’ grades to lower because of missed class time.

Although the sweep causes students to miss too much class time, it has greatly decreased the amount of tardies. Before the sweep, many students would not be to class on time because there was not punishment for it. But now that there is punishment, more students will try to be on time. However, sometimes students may just be running late for no particular reason, and the sweep just wastes even more time. If students are already late to class, if they have to deal with the hassle of the sweep, it makes them even more late. Also there are always some students who just don’t even care about being late; they won’t try to get to school on time. However, the students who do care will always try to be on time. But the sweep doesn’t consider those who are actually trying to be on time, rather it counts them together with those who do not care.

Also, many times the students cannot help if they are late. For instance, there could be an accident on their way to school which backs up traffic, causing them to be tardy. Or possibly their parents drive them to school. And if their parents are running late in the morning and do not leave early enough, the student will be punished. If this happens too many times the student will receive a certain number of days ISS. The student could have been ready to go with plenty of time left every day, but if the parent was running late or if there was some kind of hindrance on the way, they would receive ISS. This is another flaw in the system of the sweep.

Someone could possibly argue that the sweep is more efficient and it is less distracting than students just walking into class late. The system in itself is efficient mainly because it works how it is supposed to and does it fairly quickly. However, what could be more efficient than teachers just entering into their computers the names of those who were tardy, and sending this list down to the office? It seems much easier for the teacher to simply go over to the computer, put a check by the late person’s name, and post it for the office, rather than the student having to walk all the way down to the cafeteria, wait in line, scan their ID badge, figure out where to sit, wait for everyone else to get done scanning their ID badge, then be escorted up to their class rooms. This obviously takes much more time and does not seem nearly as efficient as entering the grades electronically. Also, it is equally as distracting for the class when the students have to walk in from the sweep rather than just walking in late by themselves because the teacher still has to stop class. Most of the time teachers will wait for those who are late to get situated, and then begin the discussion again. Also, they may have to take time to pass out papers to these students who were held up by the sweep.

The sweep causes many hassles and needs to be done away with at Kickapoo. It takes too much time and could cause the students to miss important parts of class. Although it has greatly decreased the amount of tardies, some students just do not care and are going to be late no matter what. Sometimes students cannot help if they are late, so the sweep punishes them for nothing. Also, some could say that it is more efficient and less distracting, but really it is not. The administration at Kickapoo should realize these things and get rid of the sweep.

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