M-A Teachers Frustrated by Tardy Policy

1 min read

“At least one-third of my first-period class is late to school every day,” said AP Spanish teacher Maribel Maldonado. She is one of many teachers who are frustrated with M-A’s tardy policy. Poor enforcement of tardies has been one of the highlighted topics multiple times this semester at Shared Decision-Making Site Council (SDMSC) meetings—a forum for teachers to raise their concerns with school issues.

Part of the issue is that M-A gives teachers the responsibility of punishing tardy students, a policy that’s unique among high schools in our area. At both Woodside High School and Sequoia High School, the administrative staff assigns detentions for repeated tardiness. At M-A, when a student has four or more tardies in one quarter, a teacher can choose to assign students to detention. Teachers are also encouraged to reach out to the parents and guardians of the student to discuss consistent tardiness. The system is challenging, however, because teachers are not notified when a student has exceeded the four-tardy limit. Instead, the teacher must manually keep count or dig through Infinite Campus to track how many tardies a student has. 

Since many teachers are busy with other duties or don’t want to choose to punish their students, tardies often go unaddressed. Ceramics teacher Mike Tillson said, “By just giving us the ability to punish tardy students, rather than making a strict course of action, [the tardy policy] makes it feel like it’s us, not the rules, that are punishing the student. That’s why most teachers don’t give out detentions for repeated tardiness.”

One major concern raised at the SDMSC meetings was that teachers are unsure of what the tardy policy is in the first place. “I am embarrassed to say that I don’t really know what our school’s policy is because we don’t have a strong and clear policy that has been advertised,” said science teacher Erica Woll. 

Due to this lack of clarity, some teachers have used punitive measures in grading to help deter tardiness. For example, many teachers including math teacher Steven Kryger and Biology teacher Patrick Roisen deduct homework points if a student is not in their seat when the bell rings.

Some teachers feel that the best way to remedy the current policy issues and curb chronic tardiness would be to create a centralized policy with a clear course of action and enforcement coming from administration. “If it were up to me when a student reaches four tardies in a particular class, Infinite Campus would contact the parents via voicemail, send the required detention paperwork to administration, and email the student,” said Roisen. “If kids see that there is a punishment for being late, they will make the adjustments needed to arrive on time,” he added. Woll said, “I would absolutely love and endorse a stronger attendance and tardy policy.”

Peter is a senior at M-A and is in his first year in journalism. He enjoys covering community and school issues as well as school sports events.

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