A look into attendance: What your absences and tardies mean

The attendance coordinator, Sue Prutton works at her desk. Tardies and absences have many consequences for students when appearing in multitudes.

Alexander Wang

The attendance coordinator, Sue Prutton works at her desk. Tardies and absences have many consequences for students when appearing in multitudes.

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Missing part or all of a day of school can lead to a variety of consequences for Upper School students, but the administration does listen to reasons and is willing to allow students to avoid punishment if their reason for absence is deemed reasonable.

According to Attendance Coordinator Sue Prutton, “students are allowed to have a maximum of seven absences in a semester unless they are a senior…[then] they are allowed three extra absences.” Seniors are given these three extra absences for college visits, which must be approved by the administration first.

Exceeding this number of absences can result in a student losing his or her credits for the classes that he or she has missed. The student would then need to appeal in order to have the credits reinstated.

Credits are not taken away in all cases of absences, as a student who has special conditions such as a chronic illness will not be penalized because of his or her illness. The penalty depends on how much information the administration has regarding the student.

According to Sue Prutton, the most common excuses for absences are illness and appointments such as with a doctor or a dentist.

The other case of missing school is tardiness, which only causes a student to miss a small portion of a class, but is still recorded and has its penalties.

Tardies are kept track of by the quarter system, allowing each student two unexcused tardies per quarter per class without penalty. Each subsequent tardy results in a detention. The two tardies without penalty are to give students some insurance in case something happens to deter their passage to school, such as a tree falling in a student’s driveway. Some exceptions are made, however, for cases such as a students having a class in Nichols Hall right after a class in Shah Hall.

Too many tardies can result in a discussion with the student and further disciplinary action to ensue.

On the topic of excuses for tardies, Prutton says, “tardies are virtually all traffic.” She elaborates on that, saying that traffic is not a very valid excuse, as everyone has to go through the traffic. She then compares the students’ arrivals with those of the teachers, saying that the teachers are expected to be on time for class by the administration and the students by their parents. They have to drive to school through the same traffic as the students, so the same standards should be applied to the students.Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 9.04.27 AM

“I am only late for fifth period because, the days in which lunch is first for me, there is no bell to signal that lunch is over and that sixth period is going to start,” Akhil Arun (9) said, despite the fact that tardies usually occur in the mornings when a student is arriving at school.

Usually students will not exceed one detention due to tardiness, but there are cases where a students has been late three days in a week, causing an automatic detention.

To reduce tardies and their effect on students, the administration has changed the drop-off loop so that a student is dropped off in a way that is optimal to help him or her avoid a tardy. Ms. Prutton has also started sending out warning emails to students who have accumulated two tardies in a class.

Prutton believes that these changes have had a dramatic improvement on the number of late arrivals and detentions.

“We have had over a 30-percent improvement in the situation in terms of arriving late to school [compared to] last year,” she said.

Prutton and the school administration are still working towards improving the tardy and absence situation at our school.