High school ‘health late’ policy remains under scrutiny

— Since February, the district has changed certain aspects of the policy, such as having notes and explanations given directly to Schnabl or to Assistant Principal Susan Vickers rather than to Schnabl’s administrative assistant. Parents also now are allowed to call Schnabl or Vickers to explain the health late over the phone if they feel uncomfortable submitting a written note. The decision as to whether a student’s tardiness was the result of an “extreme emergency” per the policy — which would then allow the student no tardiness penalty — is also solely at the discretion of Schnabl and/or Vickers and no one else.

Board member Leigh Baldwin, however, called the policy “flawed” and one based on a “lack of trust” of not only the student but also their parents. He urged the other board members to remember that “the parents are strongly opposed to this, and we represent them. We are going down a path [with this policy] that the parents don’t want us to go down.”

“As a parent, I agree with Leigh,” said board member Cindy Bell Tobey.

Schnabl said other school districts have policies that allow students to participate in extracurricular activities as long as the student arrives at school by a certain time, such as 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. “But we made a decision as a school community to hold our students to a higher standard,” he said. The current Cazenovia policy is that students must be in their homeroom by 7:58 a.m.

Baldwin said that when the students go to college the professors don’t care if they are late or not. “Let’s just trust the parents,” he said.

“But are we okay with 1,100 tardies?” Schnabl asked.

“If that’s what the parents are saying,” responded board Vice President Karin Marris.

BOE President Fritz Koennecke said kids need to know when they are required to be places and be held accountable and not “taken off the hook” when they violate a rule.

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