New tardy policy sweeps students out of school gates

Students without hall passes are getting swept off campus and they must stay there until the next period starts.

That is the new truancy policy that began at the Fremont Federation of High Schools campus on Oct. 3.

Students have mixed reactions on the policy. Some think the truancy sweep is a good idea, but others believe it will have a negative effect on learning.

“No matter how many times they do [the sweeps], people are still getting kicked out, and what if someone’s just late?” said College Preparatory & Architecture Academy senior Anthony Harris. “They’re basically kicking them [out] for no apparent reason.”

The truancy policy was implemented because some students walk around the school instead of going to class, said Eric Dubois, case manager of Media Academy.

“We care about [students], and we want to ensure that they are learning and moving toward graduation. We don’t want them to fail,” said Dubois. “We are making them accountable to be in the classroom.”

“If they are not in class and are chronically truant, they will fail,” Dubois added. “Our motivation is to help them graduate, which is not possible if a student is outside of class half of the time.”

As part of the sweep, when students are caught on campus during class without passes, school safety officers escort them to the front gate and take their names. If the students give a false name, they will be suspended and can only return to campus if they bring a parent.

If students are caught up in a sweep more than twice, there is a strong possibility that mandatory parent meetings will take place and that the school will refer the student to the Student Attendance Review Board (SARB).

To see if the policy is working, reporters sat at the main entrance of Media Academy for 15 minutes on three dates and counted the number of students with passes. Five out of 10 students had hall passes on Oct.11; two of 10 students had hall passes on Oct.18, and nine out of 10 students had hall passes Oct. 24.
The results on Oct. 24 suggest the truancy policy may be working with more students having passes when out of class.

Media teacher Howard Ruffner thinks the policy teaches students responsibility.

“It’s letting students know that the school is concerned that they’re not in class,” said Ruffner. “It’s helping the school be aware of students skipping class and learn why they’re skipping.”