Pushing For Punctuality: West’s Tardiness Troubles

Tardy+students+walk+through+the+foyer+after+arriving+to+school.+

Tardy students walk through the foyer after arriving to school.

Starting November 2nd, a new tardy policy took effect at West High School. Finding a tardy policy that everyone can agree upon is an age-old problem about which students and staff can never seem to agree upon. 

The current policy is as follows: for periods two through six, anyone who is late to class is instantly issued a detention. Leniency is shown for the first class of the day, though. Students can arrive without penalty from 7:30 A.M. to 7:45 A.M. Students must serve a lunch detention the following day, or face escalated discipline. 

Rupal Hess, a math teacher, has been teaching at West for nine years and battles with student tardiness and the effects on her classroom management and instruction.

Hess’ first hour is Algebra II, in which the majority are freshmen and sophomores. Her second hour, AP Statistics (which Hess sees first on Wednesdays), is comprised of all seniors except for two students. Freshmen and sophomores cannot legally drive themselves to school. Hess sees a difference between her first and second-hour students. “For my first hour, I know it’s out of their control if their parents are driving them or if their buses are late. It’s the parent’s responsibility to bring their students to school on time. What irks me the most is that I have to repeat myself or students will interrupt me to ask me for a paper I handed out at the beginning of class,” says Hess. “It stops the flow of what I’m doing. To me, it’s really annoying.”

Dashiell Morgan senior, is not usually late to school and he believes it is disrespectful to be consistently tardy. “I do think it can be disrespectful to the teacher depending on how late students show up and how often students show up late,” he says.

Hess advocates for a stronger tardy policy. “The tardy policy should be more in place for first period. I don’t want to be a tardy police person, but it’s so disruptive to the teachers.”

Conversely, Katie Flagel, a senior, says, “I think people are people and everyone is going to be late in their life to something. Missing a couple of minutes at the beginning of class is barely anything in my opinion. It’s not going to matter in the grand scheme of life.”

Flagel mentioned how the winter weather is a huge factor in why students are late. “Sometimes it’s just not [a good] day and people need more time. It should be appreciated that students are still coming to class even if they are late. If I was a teacher, I would rather students be late than skip class.”

Cars are lined up for drop off near West High.

Nonetheless, Hess believes a lot happens in the first few minutes of her class. She also revealed that students arrive late on purpose. “I dislike when students come into class late holding drinks they bought. If you’re coming in late with food or coffee, it shows me you went to the store. You had plenty of time to get here to school on time.”

Promoting personal responsibility is another reason Hess pushes for punctuality. “Think about the staff. We’re not allowed to be tardy. What would our consequence be? Eventually, we would not have a job. We should teach students to be on time so that when they go into the workforce, they know that they have to arrive on time. We should teach good habits.”

Lose a few minutes or lose your life? Morgan warned that students should arrive safely instead of rushing on the roads in fear of a strict tardy policy. “I choose not to rush or speed on the road if I am late,” he says.

Hopefully, West High students will arrive safely every morning and make the most of their learning experience here.