30 Seconds Late, Marked Tardy

The policy for attendance is more stricter or not lenient than it should be.


Erina Lee

English teacher Aaron Eldridge takes attendance for his 6th period AP Language class.

Erina Lee, Staff Writer

On September 24, I woke up at 7:15AM, 30 minutes later than when I was supposed to get up. I started panicking and quickly began getting ready for school. I had 30 minutes to get to first period on time with half the amount of time I usually take to get ready, so it was going to be a close call. I got ready as fast as I could and got to school at 7:42, which gave me three minutes to get to first period. I quickly walked to my first class and got into the classroom right as the bell rang. I have walked into other classes as the bell rang several times before and have not gotten marked tardy or had any problems, so I thought I was fine, and was able to breathe comfortably again. Although, as soon as I opened my iPad, I saw a notification from Infinite Campus telling me that I had been marked tardy for my first period class.

Once I saw the notification, I thought it was very unfair. I had tried so hard to get to class on time, considering my unplanned issue in the morning, and had successfully walked into class as the bell rang. I do not think I should have gotten a tardy. I understand that teachers think these tardies can be avoided by waking up earlier or setting an alarm, but I had set multiple alarms in intervals of five minutes starting at 5:45AM on my phone and just happened to sleep through all of them. This can happen and it does happen a lot to other kids too, not just me. I had spent the night before working on homework assigned by the teachers and had gone to bed later, but I had to get it done because it was homework and a grade in the class. I can see that teachers could say I had the whole weekend to do the homework, but they must also keep in mind that I have things going on during the weekend and do not have much free time to work on the homework. If I do not do all of my homework so I am not late the next morning, then I would have to go to school and have the problem of not having done my homework and getting a late grade or lower score because of it.

Granted, there are several studies mentioned in Mamamia and EliteDaily that show that having multiple alarms does not allow you to wake up on time because it is not allowing the brain to wake gradually like many people think. It actually keeps your brain from resetting from the deep sleep stage, known as REM sleep. While this is shown, I still think the only way I am able to wake is from multiple alarms because I have tried lowering the amount of alarms I have and it worked less than it would with more alarms. This is something I could work on and keep in mind, but I think the school should also make some sort of effort to help.

The school can put in their part by allowing a change in the tardy/attendance policy. I think teachers should give students a minute or two before they mark them tardy in the mornings for first period. They should not give any more than two minutes, but just enough time that if you walk into the class a couple seconds after class, you are not marked off tardy. There are a lot of different factors that could lead up to being a little late to school in the mornings. I could not explain or excuse lateness to classes during the school day, but I can fully understand the beginning of the day.

Understandably, allowing this change into the policy could be too much at once. If allowing students several chances to be tardy by a couple minutes is giving too much ‘power’ to the students, then the teachers should at least not mark students off tardy if they walk in as soon as the bell rings. The students should get a little bit of leniency to help out with their efforts to try and get to class on time.

Teachers could argue that giving that minute or two to students would not help anything and just allow students to misuse the leniency to always walk into class late, or push it and walk in right as the bell rings all the time.  So obviously, the staff should not be too lenient with the rule so students do not abuse it and are tardy all the time. To compromise, they could have it so the students have a limited amount of times they can use this rule.

It would be difficult to create a completely new system to keep track of how many times they use up their chances, so they could mark it off on the same system teachers take attendance on. I am aware teachers can write ‘notes’ or comments on the attendance system; so when a student uses one of their chances, the teacher can mark the student present while writing a note saying that one of their chances has been used.

If someone walks in as the bell rings, it just shows that the student was trying to get to class on time and is not meaning to be late so they should not be “punished” for something they did not try to do. This may not seem to be a problem if the student was not trying to be late, but our parents do not know that and that could cause problems between the parent and student. Some parents do not understand the attendance system; so when they see a tardy, some parents will automatically assume their child was really late, ultimately leading to another disagreement between the student and parent. A lot of students try their hardest to avoid being late; but when it happens, the school and teachers should understand and be a little open-minded.