It’s 7:47 am and the wind hits your face as you bolt to the front doors of LHS. It’s 7:49 am when you finally rush into the building- your pounding heart and wheezing lungs assure you that quitting track freshman year was possibly the best decision you’ve ever made. But despite your best efforts, you are too late! You receive a tardy and head sullenly to class.
“My personal feeling is that our administration is extremely understanding, lenient, and compassionate, especially if you compare it to other school’s late policies.”Mrs. Omartian
According to the LHS Student Handbook, “In order to participate in any athletic or extracurricular activity, including practices, students must be in class no later than 7:48 A.M.” Sarah Chamberland, a junior at LHS says, “I think it’s unfair that if you’re not on time you can’t play a sport because sometimes you’re just one minute late and realistically you’re not missing anything in class.” Senior tennis player Tommy He agrees, “I don’t really get the rule. If you get to school like two minutes late, teachers don’t do anything in the first two minutes of class anyways.” However, math teacher Mrs. Jacek says students who come late to class “can be disruptive for learning.” LHS assistant principal Mrs. Efstratios says that getting to school late interrupts “the education of others and the instruction of the teacher. Academics come first- that’s why it’s called an extracurricular,”
“Students shouldn’t miss out on after school activities if they are only late by a minute and should only miss them after being late a certain amount of times.”Brian Wright ‘22
Many students believe the administration should be more understanding. “If my mom’s car got screwed up and we had to pull over, I don’t think it’s fair that you don’t get to play your sport just because your parent’s car broke down. That’s not really something you can control and it’s not like I’m gonna leave my house twenty minutes early every day just in case my mom’s car decides to break down one day,” says junior Bella Costello. Jack Szyluk, a senior at LHS who has missed a swim practice for being tardy, thinks that “[the administration] should be a little more lenient because, hypothetically, there are twenty school days per month, there’s got to be some error in those days so they got to at least let a student come in ten minutes late at least a few times a month.” LHS does give every student one free tardy in their four years at the school, a new rule actually implemented by Mrs. Efstratios within the last five years. “It is the responsibility of the student to arrive at school on time. Having said that, if there are extenuating circumstances they can always see an administrator and depending on the individual circumstance, we may, and I stress may, forgive that tardy,” says assistant principal Mr. Dunkerley. “My personal feeling is that our administration is extremely understanding, lenient, and compassionate, especially if you compare it to other school’s late policies. I know sometimes students are late because of their parents, and I can appreciate that some students feel there should be more than one free tardy but if we give them two they’ll ask for three,” says Student Office Secretary Mrs. Omartian, who is also the administer of tardies.
At East Longmeadow High School the school day begins at 7:25 am and according to the school’s handbook, “to discourage excessive tardiness to school, students who are late will accumulate tardy points. Students who exceed 20 tardy points per year will be deemed ineligible to participate in all sports and extracurricular activities. Students will receive warning notices of when they are close to exceeding 20 tardy points. Students who become ineligible for sports or extracurricular activities may regain eligibility by coming to school on time. Each week a student is on time, 3 points will be deducted from the student’s tardy point total. Students who exceed 40 tardy points will have to complete 5 hours of community service or an administrative detention within a 2 week period of time or they will be issued a two day suspension. The 5 hours of community service or the administrative detention will result in a 20 point reduction.” If late by 10 minutes, a student will receive one tardy point, and the number increases by one for every fifteen minutes thereafter. Minnechaug Regional High School allows five unexcused absences per semester. Every three unexcused absences after that counts as being absent from one class, and ten absences from a class can result in loss of credit. Tardiness does not affect sports or extracurricular activities.
“I think if you are late it should be the teacher’s decision to mark you tardy because if you wait 10 minutes in a line to get everyone a pass you’re 10 minutes later rather than one minute.”Lily Corridan ‘21
Many students believe that the current tardy policy should be amended. Senior Emily Cooper proposes that tardies “should be relative based on how many people are in the line and what the weather is like. We should also have a seperate entrance for people going into the student’s lot.” Cooper believes that this will cut the car line in half, allowing students to get into the building in a more timely fashion. “If there are more than fifteen students in line waiting for a tardy, I think everyone should just be allowed to go to class without one,” says junior Ian Kelly.
“Part of what we do in high school is we prepare kids to get ready for the next phase of their life- whatever that is -and that means we have rules in place and we hold people accountable to those rules.”Mr. Dunkerely
If a student has new ideas regarding the tardy policy Mrs. Omartian says, “every year, Mr. Dunkerley allows kids to work with him on the handbook and he meets with these kids at least half a dozen times. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s going to happen but there is an opportunity for students to participate in policy and voice their opinions.”
While many students believe that they should not be restricted from after school activities and that getting a tardy if you’re only a minute or two late is pointless, Mr. Dunkerley argues that “being on time to school is the same as being on time to your workplace. If you don’t learn those habits now, when you get into the real world you can get into trouble with your employer for being habitually tardy and you could actually lose your position. Part of what we do in high school is we prepare kids to get ready for the next phase of their life – whatever that is – and that means we have rules in place and we hold people accountable to those rules.” Mrs. Efstratios says, “leaving a couple minutes early helps” bypass the car line congestion. Still, Mrs. Efstratios reiterates that the most important thing is for students to “be aware of the weather,” in their drive to school, “and always stay safe.”