Tardy Tracker won’t mitigate students’ late tendencies

Ava McGuire, Editor-in-Chief

High school students are in the annual mid-year slump. Whether it be trying to keep up with rigorous courses, preparing for standardized tests, or trying to balance other activities in the average teenager’s life, staying up late can sometimes be inevitable. However, staying up into the late hours of the night can lead to the dreaded realization that the missed 6 o’clock alarm is ringing, and a trip to the loathsome Tardy Tracker is in the near future.

With the recent heavy enforcement of the tardy policy, students must be in the classroom ready to begin class activities when the final bell rings. The policy states that a teacher can determine the acceptability of excuses for being late, but with the increase of tardies and absences this year, there has been somewhat of a “zero tolerance” directed toward narrowly missing the bell. 

A rough start to the morning can only go downhill when sent to Tardy Tracker, which not only wastes time but allows for students to settle down into their classes much later than they originally arrived — not to mention the outrageous lines streaming out of the Tardy Tracker room which can take on average 5 to 15 minutes for staff to provide each student with a tardy slip.  

These concerns and frustrations raise questions on the overall effectiveness of sending barely late students to the Tardy Tracker. BV students can be sent to the Tardy Tracker for being seconds late for the bell, which contributes to a list of punishable offenses. Of course, being several minutes late to school may warrant a deserved tardy, if the cause was of the student’s own account. And yes, it is important to teach teenagers accountability, and that their actions have consequences, but continually punishing students will not effectually solve the problem. 

Kicking students while they’re down won’t fix the fact that most of the time there is a reasonable excuse for their tardiness. Early morning traffic going into the school is absurd — students who live 2-5 minutes away from the school may have to take an unexpected 15-20 minutes just to get to school. This isn’t including the ever-present issue of parking. 

Simply finding a spot to park in the morning can be a matter of on time or tardy. Underclassmen who have to park in the back lots must also walk an outrageous distance to get to school, and the struggle is only amplified when the weather is undesirable. 

Waiting in traffic for 10 minutes, then rushing to beat the bell already puts students in a funk, which can be added to when being just a minute late to class turns into being 15 minutes late when they are surely issued a trip to the Tardy Tracker. 

Whether it be an inclination in weather or a personal matter, the average student is bound to be a few minutes late to school sometimes. But how does punishing them with the Tardy Tracker benefit them? 

The current tardy policy that allows teachers to practice discretion with a simple verbal warning could save students the hassle and allow teachers to start class on time. Furthermore, teachers track student attendance on their Synergy accounts: what is the harm with using that software to track tardies, too?

For “repeat offenders” or students who are continually tardy, planning a way for them to arrive on time to school has the potential to be much more effective than sending them to wait in the Tardy Tracker line.

Being profoundly late to school in an avoidable circumstance is not acceptable. However, if the Tardy Tracker crackdown isn’t allowing students to self-correct their behavior, it isn’t going to bring change for good that benefits students and staff alike. 

This staff editorial is the representation of the opinion of The Tiger Print staff.