Lockout policy locks down attendance

The Southerner

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By Harrison Thweatt and Park Li

Starting this year, a new lockout policy will be instated to limit the number of tardy students. The policy, initially implemented for the 2014-15 school year, was never enforced. Though this new school-wide policy has caused concern among students and staff, it has proven not to be as much of an issue as students originally believed.

The lockout policy follows a set of strict guidelines. A new warning bell rings exactly one minute before the tardy bell. The second, and final, bell signifies that teachers should close and lock their doors. Any student who arrives to class after the ringing of the tardy bell must go to the discipline office to receive a tardy pass. That late pass, however, comes with a sentence to after-school detention.

Students push themselves to get to class on time in order to avoid after-school detention.  Those who have received detention have said they dislike this policy, like senior Rebecca Bragg.

“It’s just a stupid policy, because the punishment is too strict for the offense,” Bragg said.

However, many teachers, staff and students, find this new system very effective in motivating kids to arrive at their classes in a timely fashion. Despite the fact that students are disciplined for being late, it teaches them a good lesson, and they eventually learn how to manage their time better in preparation for the real world.   

History teacher Sara Looman believes in the  policy. She cited an article from the AJC that said, “41 percent of surveyed employers have fired people for being tardy.”  

“There’s no way to make sure kids are following a basic rule, [arriving to class on time] so students abuse [it],” said Mario Herrera, literature teacher and debate coach.  “Teachers have found in the past that students, especially juniors and seniors, don’t care about being late to class.  This general uncaring attitude towards tardiness angers teachers who have put a significant amount of time and effort into planning class.’’

In past years, students could easily show up to class late and repeatedly abuse their teachers’ patience without facing any real disciplinary action. The only repercussion for multiple tardies was an absence on Infinite Campus. This constant tardiness impacted teachers’ ability to effectively teach their classes. Herrera also said that while a large number of students are receiving detention now, he thinks that number will decrease as they adapt to the policy

Assistant Principal David Propst explained that the administration’s expectations for students are simple.

“Be attentive, be on time, and be respectful,” Propst said.

Students still don’t like the policy.

Senior Rebecca Bragg, who received detention after a tardy called the policy “stupid,’’ adding that, “If you come to school late, you don’t hear the announcement.  They should at least tell you ahead of time that they’re going to enforce it.”

Propst said that the administration has students’ best interests at heart and only wants to ensure that students get to class on time.

Though the lockout policy implemented this year has caused some unease with  students, it has proven to be effective so far. Propst said he has noticed fewer tardies so far this year than at this point in the 2014-15 school year, just as the administration predicted. The administrative staff and teachers hope it will remain this way. While the policy may seem strict, it’s only goal is to improve attendance.


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