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Attendance, not grades, spells doom for senior skip-a-final

BSM should be more lenient in their rules regarding attendance for allowing seniors to skip their finals.

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The BSM administration has offered second-semester seniors an ultimatum: if seniors uphold good behavior and maintain a C average or higher in each class without having more than four absences per class, they are allowed to skip their finals. If seniors aren’t able to keep above a C in their classes or miss a class more than four times, their dreams of leaving BSM unscathed by finals will go to die.

At first, this deal was seen as a gift from the Lord himself––it really was too good to be true. Initially, meeting these requirements seemed like a breeze. But being a senior myself, I quickly came to realize what most of our downfalls would be: not grades, or academic or behavioral misconduct, but attendance.

Absences are counted against seniors for all the wrong reasons; illnesses, important family commitments, college visits longer than two days, and personal appointments are all things in life you either can’t plan for or can’t avoid, and students shouldn’t be punished for that. For example, the only reason a sick, second-semester senior would come to school is so they don’t have to take their finals, and that is wrong. Firstly, we all know there’s nothing more miserable than being sick at school––and secondly, other students can get sick from someone contagious that shouldn’t be at school. Because of this rule, students will continue through this cycle until they are given the time to actually get better.

The answer to a situation like this is simple: online school. If it’s used for snow days, it can be used for personal absences, too. As long as good grades are upheld, the student’s attendance shouldn’t matter––especially since online school is a tool provided by BSM, who has utilized online school on multiple occasions. An absent student with the grades BSM requires for skip-a-final should not go unnoticed––this actually shows a student’s resilience in being able to miss school and maintain good grades at the same time, which deserves to be appreciated.

If seniors aren’t able to keep above a C in their classes or miss a class more than four times, their dreams of leaving BSM unscathed by finals will go to die.”

— Cici Fortney

Another example––making these attendance requirements unreasonable––is the lack of excused time BSM juniors and seniors receive for college visits. Instead of only giving students two days to visit their desired colleges, BSM should excuse different amounts of time specifically to the student’s request, if reasonable. For students looking at in-state colleges, visits can be made in one day. However, for students looking out of state, it’s likely they will want to take three to four days to not only see the school, but the area around campus to see what that state has to offer them. As BSM is a college-preparatory school, the administration should be flexible in adapting the college visit policy to each student’s needs.

It’s understandable that BSM doesn’t want its students to miss school, which leads to an appeal process offered by the administration. In this process, seniors are given an opportunity to advocate for their absences so they won’t count against them. Although this shows mercy to students with too many absences, it hasn’t necessarily proven itself effective.

If students miss class for legitimate reasons, they should not be punished. Things like illness and unforeseen events are a part of life and are unlikely to be avoided. As long as seniors uphold good grades and behavior, they should be able to skip their finals without attendance being a factor.

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The student news site of Benilde-St. Margaret's School in St. Louis Park, MN
Attendance, not grades, spells doom for senior skip-a-final