Caught by the bell: Tardy policy locks students out

When the bell rings at Media Academy, the doors are locked.

That’s because of a new tardy policy that students discovered when they came back on Aug. 29.

During teacher work days before students returned for school, the Media Academy staff reached an agreement that there should be a new tardy policy.

On nearly every door, teachers have posted signs that say:

1. Classroom doors are closed and locked at the bell. YOU ARE LATE!!

2. Your ”Do Now” grade will be affected!

Most teachers are taking half the points away for “Do Nows,” which are quick assignments that are required to be started at the bell.

The new policy has a purpose, explained Sarah Mazzotta, who became Media Academy’s assistant principal this year.

“To make sure all students are on time, we need to follow through with rewards for students who are on time and consequences when they are late,” she said.

Mazzotta also said that if all teachers were consistent with a tardy policy, more students would be on time to class.

Not all students are happy and some say the policy has backfired.

Some say that when teachers lock their doors, occasionally students just leave and don’t go to class at all — especially if the teacher forgets to unlock the door to let tardy students in after they have taken attendance and started the Do Now.

“I was surprised when I saw students waiting outside of their class for 20 minutes, because they were late,” said junior Diego Garcia.

Daniel Hurst, principal of Fremont Federation of High Schools, said that the Media Academy tardy policy was okay for now, but that he would want to review it before making a policy for the entire campus when the three schools combine next year.

Media Academy English teacher Candice Valenzuela said she is happy with the way it is going.

“It is making a difference, [there is] less yelling in the hallways after the bell rings and more students are coming on time to class,” said Valenzuela.

Multimedia and graphic design teacher Howard Ruffner said he believes the new policy can help students build responsibility for the future.

“We need to enforce it and make it stronger,” Ruffner said. “Too many students miss out.”