New Attendance Policy

Regan O'Fallon

How sick is too sick? According to the new attendance policy drafted by administration, 10% of the week. The policy will go into effect on October 1 for the 2018-19 school year. The new rule has caused some outrage among students, but that is due to misunderstanding.

The reason for the new policy is to simply “improve attendance,” Dean of Students John Alexander said, “The state judges schools based on things like graduation rate and attendance.” Attendance had become an issue, so administrators came up with this new policy to hopefully see improvements in absences, whether they are excused or unexcused.

The policy is not as bad as it was communicated to students at the annual handbook assembly at the beginning of the year. School excused absences such as field trips, college visits or sporting events do not count against you. However, sick days that are excused by a doctor count as one day, even if you are out for more than one day. Once your absence count reaches and exceeds 10% of the school week, social probation will be put into place. According to Alexander, they accumulate the absence percentages by taking the total amount of class periods in the week and how many a person misses to find the percent of class periods a person has missed that week. This will be checked once a week starting on October 1, and that is when the social probation punishment will start to be implemented to students missing more school than they should.

During mid-September, several students were called down to 201 regarding the new policy. Senior Dom Bianchi was among the group who was warned for repeated absences. “I was called down to 201, and I had to sign my name. I was given a warning about social probation after missing two or three days,” Bianchi said, “It’s a good idea, but its execution hurts the wrong people.” Alexander said, “It was just a warning to students who had missed school and were over that 10% cutoff. October 1 is the first day we check and start putting those students on social probation.”

However, this social probation only lasts until the attendance of said students improves. This is different than the normal disciplinary social probation, which lasts 30 days. Social probation prevents students from participating in any extracurriculars or attending school events such as games, concerts, dances, and assemblies. In other words, do yourself a favor, and don’t stay home because you have headache or sore throat. Once absences add up, school won’t be the only thing you’re missing out on.