New tardy slip policy gets mixed reaction

Opponents say slips make students even later to class

Administrative+Assistant+Claudia+Lara+fills+out+one+of+the+hundreds+of+tardy+slips+she+has+completed+this+fall.+

Administrative Assistant Claudia Lara fills out one of the hundreds of tardy slips she has completed this fall.

Students who are more than five minutes late can no longer go straight to class. They must go to the office first.

And on Sept. 8,  the first day of the policy, that meant 144 students lined up in the office to get red passes.

Many students and some staff are unhappy about the new policy.

“It was irrelevant; it only made us more late,” said Tyshone Gaines, a senior in the Mandela Academy.

The new system was put together by the school culture committee and Principal Emiliano Sanchez, although the freshman house has had a similar system for a couple of years now.

Sanchez said he wanted to make it a schoolwide policy because it’s part of being responsible to come on time and he wants students to be prepared for the real world.

“You can’t learn if you’re not in class,” said Sanchez.

The office staff explained that if tardies become a pattern for the same students, then school officials will start to have conversations with the student and parents.

If this does not have an effect on the student, then the next step is to require students to

Administrative Assistant Claudia Lara fills out one of the hundreds of tardy slips she has completed this fall.
Administrative Assistant Claudia Lara fills out one of the hundreds of tardy slips she has completed this fall.

present themselves in front of the Student Attendance Review Board. The board explains the law to students, puts them on attendance contracts and lets them know they could be sent to Alameda County Court if they break the contract, explained freshman Case Manager Eric DuBois.

In previous years, only the freshmen got tardy slips and DuBois believes the system helped to reduce tardies.

Instead of requiring tardy slips, administators started running tardy sweeps two years ago. The sweeps involved getting students who weren’t in class, taking them to the office, front gate or auditorium and writing down their names.

Some staff do not like the tardy policy.

“It’s a royal waste of time,” said Cecilia Harrison, one of the office workers who gives out the passes.

Teachers should be able to mark students tardy themselves, said Harrison. By going to the office, students are just ending up being later.

Students also are complaining.

“It was a waste of time, it made me later to class than I already was,” said Daisy Romo, a senior in the Mandela Academy.

One day during the fourth week of school, 126 students, or about 18 percent of students were more than five minutes late and went to the office for a red slip.  That number was only 88 on Nov. 12.

However, some say the drop in numbers might not mean students are starting to get to class on time.

“I just don’t even bother anymore when I am late,” said one student who wished to remain anonymous. “I just head to class without the slip.”