Controversial attendance and late policy puts students on edge

On the first day back from the two-week winter break, the entire student body was called into a meeting, class by class. Starting off the meeting was a warm welcome from principal Craig Weigel but a new and somewhat controversial attendance policy was set in place by the end.

Some of the major changes that have been set in place would be the unexcused absence policy. After the first and second unexcused absences, the consequence is lunch detention. After the third, there is lunch detention and a two-week social suspension, and any more absences will start to affect your GPA.

That is a glimpse into some of the changes made, and depending on what kind of student you are, you may be affected differently.

There are mixed opinions about the new policy, and depending on the student, the policy might have a different appeal. If the student misses school only for appointments and sick days the policy will not have a large effect on them. A student who has trouble going to school and getting to class on time will have a harder time adjusting to this policy. The policy applies to the whole student body, but it might have a larger impact on a certain crowd, specifically upperclassmen. Due to obstacles such as finding a parking spot or any of the other troubles driving may bring, students might be tardy to class more often than underclassmen.

“People that drive themselves to school might be impacted more by the new policy,” Sophie Titus ‘26 said. “It could be hard for them to find a parking spot, or they might have some challenges getting to school regarding their car,” Titus said.

The changes made can change the perspective of some students, specifically the ones who are in optional attendance classes. Being in an optional attendance class gives the student the privilege of not needing to be physically present in class if their grade reflects hard work. This is something that many students love and join classes to have this opportunity, but, with the new changes set in place, this luxury is not an option anymore.

“As a senior in first-hour Personal Finance, I don’t necessarily love every change made. I feel getting rid of the blended learning is frustrating, given that’s how it was last semester. I think they should’ve waited until next year to make these changes,” Leland Whinery ‘23 said.

The impact this policy will have on students again will depend on the student, but this policy has also been designed to help students keep their grades up, without falling behind. By making the consequences of missing school larger, some students will take the initiative to go to class. By being present in class, the student’s grades will start to improve. Some of the consequences of not being present in class can lead to a failing grade, ultimately dropping the students’ GPA by a lot.

“I think this policy will affect students’ grades positively and negatively. For example, I think that getting more kids to school will help in a positive way, but the fact that if you miss a certain number of classes and get failed will negatively affect students’ grades,” Maya Reifinger ‘24 said.

All of the new changes being set in place such as students being given more strict punishments as a result of bad attendance, will ultimately help benefit students in the long run and keep their grades up.