Sweeping Up Tardies

Emily Jordan, Feature Editor

Don’t get swept up in the halls of Alan B. Shepard- you might end up with a referral. The recent developments to Shepard’s tardy policy has been a controversial topic among the student and staff body. Some favor it, others believe it is unfair, and the rest simply don’t care.

Brian Roberts- our school’s dean and head of the tardy policy, stated that it’s not exactly ‘new.’ “We’ve seen an increase in tardies- about a 40% increase from first semester this year and first semester last year.” Roberts continued. “It makes it hard for teachers to start class. The standard system was once a student earned a cumulative eight tardies across all classes, they would receive a detention. But with this, if you are caught in multiple sweeps, then you would receive the detention.”

Roberts explained that the new system specifically targeted students who were repeatedly late to class over a small duration with random events. That way, students who rarely are late only get a warning rather than a harsh punishment.

Roberts has even reported that the administration has already seen a decrease in tardies- and the system isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. “This is not temporary,” Roberts explained. Teachers have even commented that they see a better sense of urgency in students.

“Students simply need passes at all times and that isn’t new. The first time you get caught, it’s a warning. The second time, it’s a lunch detention. Now by the third time, that can be an after school detention. The fourth time would lead to a parent-teacher conference.”

Despite the policy’s success, some students are concerned. Hall sweeps make it impossible for students to stop by their lockers and switch out books for the second half of classes- as well as limit any kind of bathroom use. This can pose an issue for menstruating students as well.

Roberts assured, however, that this isn’t an issue. “If it happens during lunch, all you have to do is leave your ID.” He continued. “When you’re coming from workroom, you’re free to use the bathroom on your way. We’re not going to give consequences to students for using the bathroom. And with ladies, we try to be accommodating if you really have issues with your menstrual cycle, then you can always go to the nurse and they’ll write you a pass- you won’t be penalized.”

Roberts also explained coming to lunch late wasn’t much of an issue, unless of course, if a sophomore or senior without a workroom came in extremely late.

Communication is key here. Roberts explained that as long as a conversation occurs between a student and a teacher for tardiness, many issues can be alleviated.

“A mistake that a lot of students make is that they just go without communicating. I know some teachers will look at a student’s schedule.” Roberts said, “It varies from teacher to teacher- but they just want to see that you’re at least trying. If the door is open and they see you hustling, running to get to class, they are more inclined to not mark you tardy versus the kid who just walked in, as if they weren’t even trying to arrive on time.”

Roberts assured that the school is going to be accommodating of unavoidable factors, and the majority of students who arrive on time have nothing to worry about.

“We really hold education to be important,” Roberts said. “We’re always looking to improve things and we’ll look at the student voice to get some opinions from them- even if those ideas aren’t always implemented, we’re always ready to listen.”

Before you protest, light torches, draw signs, and ready your battle stance- understand that Shepard is only creating a stricter punishment for the same policy, and the staff is willing to make accommodations for students. So for students who rarely arrive late and shake in fear when the teacher locks the door- you need not hide in the bathroom stalls.