(Copyright 2002. The Tattoo. All rights reserved.)
Making a permanent impression since 1994
April 29, 2002
New rule: late to class is same as skipping
By Sara Greene
Students who are five minutes late to a class nextyear will get the same penalty as those who skip it completely under a proposed change in the attendance policy at Bristol Eastern High School.
The new policy, still to be approved by the Board ofEducation, would mandate a five-point penalty from that quarterís grade for any student who is five minutes late or more, according to Principal V. Everett Lyons.
The school's current attendance policy deducts pointsevery time a student skips class, is tardy, has an unexcused absence or doesn't hand in make-up work. The points vary from one point for a tardy and two points for an unexcused absence to five points for skipping.
The points are deducted by each teacher per quarterfrom the studentís grade, but not all teachers follow the policy as written. Some teachers use detention as a punishment instead of docking points from a studentís grades.
A committee of teachers, the Student GovernanceCouncil and Lyons worked to put the new policy together, according to Lyons.
Math teacher Michael Beaudoin, a member of the teachercouncil reviewing the new policy, spoke to his classes about some of the upcoming changes.
Beaudoin said he hoped the new attendance rule wouldhelp students develop a work ethic for the future.
One of the biggest problems with the current policy ishow much time should be given before a student is marked tardy.
"I believe a lot of teachers are too strict with beinga minute late and giving a detention," said freshman Matthew Fox. "Then there are others who don't care and let students show up more than 10 minutes late without a detention."
The new attendance policy will change the way studentsare marked tardy. During second, third and fourth periods, students will be given five minutes to get to class after the bell or they will be marked as skipping class.
Lyons said he hopes the new attendance policy willencourage students to get to class on time.
The proposed change is apparently part of a campaignto improve attendance problems at the school.
In a letter to parents earlier this school year,administrators stressed the districtís goal of 95 percent attendance for 95 percent of the student body.
To achieve that, students cannot miss more than ninedays of school in a year.
Students who maintain perfect attendance are rewardedwith certificates and free gifts, while students are punished for bad attendance through the points deducted off their grades.
In the end, the decision on the proposed change wonítbe made at Eastern.
"The decision of the faculty will have to pass throughthe Board of Education," Lyons said.
But even for conscientious students, will thisfive-minute block be enough time to hustle from one class to the next? Sprinting from one side of the building to the other -- and stopping at a locker to get a book midway Ė may prove too much of a hurdle.
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