Administration Adopts New Tardy Policy; Court, Fines
Story by: Nico Menzel
According to an email sent to the South High staff on Friday, Feb. 8 by security officer Tim Eirich, starting Thursday, Feb. 7, police liaison officer Andy Kundinger and Eirich started issuing 23 citations to students who had 20 or more tardies in the second quarter.
“These citations are for truancy and the students will have to attend court for the citation,” Eirich stated. “The fine is $114.00. The judge will have an option to dismiss the citation if they have 60 days of four or less tardies after they appear in court.”
According to Eirich, “This is the start of the new policy the administration has been working on to reduce the amount of tardies which occur at South.”
Eirich explained, “If a student has reached five tardies, they receive 20 minutes of detention, the next five tardies they receive 40 more minutes, the next five, 60 more minutes and when they reach 20, the citation is issued.”
He further explained, “Once a student reaches the 20 mark, if they receive another 10 during the quarter, they will be issued another citation at a cost of $177.00. It is not our intention to issue citations but to gain compliance and get the students to class on time.”
Tardies always have been a big issue in schools, with South being no exception.
“The students need to be in class, on time,” said South principal Michael Trimberger.
“Attendance is a big thing; the last time we got five percent deducted on our yearly State Report Card.” (South received a 62.2 percent on the State Report Card classifying it as a school meeting few expectations.)
In the first semester of this school year, South students tallied about 6000 tardies, a 33 percent decrease in tardies compared to the 9,000 plus tardies in the previous school year’s first semester.
South High has a bad tardy rate, Kundinger stated, “Our [South’s] truancy rate last year was 7.9 percent, compared to North’s 4.7 percent.” Kundinger explained, “There are two kinds of tardy students: The ones failing the classes thinking that they are going to fail anyway, and the ones who are upper level in the class thinking that they don’t need to come on time because of their knowledge.”
“There used to be either no or just individual punishments for tardy students,” stated Spanish teacher Liz Cordeiro.
Trimberger explained, “We used to say it was not a big deal, now we are saying, yes it is a big deal.”
There is an official school policy for being in class on time, “You have to have two feet in the classroom by the bell.” There are some students coming excused with a hall pass to class, but most of the other tardy students should be marked tardy by their classroom teacher. The reason why South is changing the tardy policy is not just based on the yearly State Report Card for the school reputation and employee performance evaluations, but it is also to prepare the students for their life after high school.
Trimberger said, “We are trying to teach the students for their future life and job.
Tardies aren’t acceptable, so we show them that we don’t accept tardies at South either.”