The Feb. 25 board of education meeting was replete with discussions on important issues such as budget, attendance and student safety, which we reported on this week. The board’s decision to revisit and review its new attendance policy was especially interesting — and one with which we can’t help but disagree.
The policy, which began in September, states that students who are late due to a doctor’s appointment must provide a doctor’s note upon returning to school. Students who do not provide a doctor’s note are ineligible to participate in any extracurricular activities that day. The note requirement was created to prevent kids using the “health late” excuse as a way to circumvent school policy.
Since the amended policy took effect in September, the number of “health lates” at the high school dropped from 831 to 360, or 43 percent.
As CHS Principal Eric Schnabl said, these numbers speak for themselves. There was clearly an epidemic of “illegal” tardiness going on that the new policy rectified. So why is the board reviewing a successful policy and considering going back to the unsuccessful (or successfully subverted) policy? Because a few students and their parents are angry that tardiness equals sports ineligibility.
Really? Are sports more important than education? Than being on time? Than taking responsibility for one’s actions?
Make no mistake, this is what the issue is truly about: taking responsibility. Instead of arguing and criticizing the administration for having rules and consequences, how about if the students take some personal responsibility to arrive at school on time? Is it that difficult to get up and out the door 10 minutes earlier?
Being late is not some casual annoyance that’s harmless or “cool.” Being late is irresponsible, immature and rude. When you’re late you’re telling people their time is not as important as your time.