Big Tardy Dip in First Five Weeks

Elizabeth Posey, Art Director

Branham has more than halved its tardies in the first few weeks of school compared to the same period last year, due to a new tardy policy.

Under the new rules, students who are less than 30 minutes late to first and fourth periods must serve lunch detention to clear their attendance. If they accumulate five unexcused absences, they are placed under social probation, which means a loss of privileges such as dance attendance and sports participation.

Principal Cheryl Lawton said that the previous policy did not effectively ensure that students arrived to class on time, therefore interrupting class.

“We were having way too many kids late to class and nobody seemed to care,” she said.

Lawton said that teachers who don’t start instruction to accommodate for late students indirectly promote a culture where being late is acceptable.

“Part of that was students saying, ‘Well I don’t have to get here early because we don’t do anything the first ten minutes of class anyway,’” Lawton said.

Branham has seen its tardies to first and fourth period roughly halved. In the week of Aug. 27 to Sept. 3, Branham saw a total of 103 tardies, compared to a similar period last year where the students accumulated 216.

Assistant principal Larry Lopez attributed the policy change to Pioneer High School, which had also seen a significant decrease in students arriving late to class. Other schools in the district are now considering similar changes to their rules.

The majority of tardies takes place during first and fourth period, according to administrators. Some students say that the policy should extend to all periods rather than first and fourth alone. Students late for their other class periods five times in a six week period can face consequences, often social probation, and they cannot make up these tardies with lunch detention.

Lopez, the assistant principal, said that students are getting used to the policy.

“In the beginning, people really hated it,” he said. “But everyone that I’ve dealt with has been super nice and super understanding. And everybody in here has been super respectful.”