Strict passing time results in unreasonable tardies

It was a seven minute journey, beginning with a collection of my belongings at my locker and ending with a quick visit to the restroom. After scrambling to juggle two binders and a notebook, I hurried to the restroom without hesitation. I exited the restroom just in time to hear the piercing noise of the bell signaling the beginning of 5th period. Again, I was marked tardy; it seems as though I’m always awaiting the arrival of a pink ticket stating my detention for tardies.

I flood through the classroom door by the bell, the goal to complete all that needs to be done before arriving on time to my next class is unattainable. Many of my fellow peers would support my theory.

The passing time we are given at BSM is simply not enough. Many of the teachers decline students’ requests to use the restroom at the beginning of class leaving no other option but to go during passing time. With the restroom, locker stop, and hustling through the halls, arriving after the bell is inevitable. As we all know, the restroom can be a quick and easy stop or it can involve some duration. So what happens if you realize you may be spending a long while in the restroom? You end up late to class…again. This situation then involves an awkward conversation with the teacher and probably not an experience that falls into the best of high school memories.

Depending on the class, a student may have a long distance to travel in-between periods. It can often be difficult managing a pit stop to your locker before making it to class with time to spare. It’s unfair for a teacher to expect a student to maneuver the halls on a long trip and arrive concurrently with the ring of the bell. Along with the distance, there are encounters with people in the hallway that are honestly unavoidable. What is expected, sprinting towards the classroom in hopes to evade a tardy? These are all valid excuses as to why being tardy is often out of a student’s control.

As a Junior, I can honestly state I have received around 50 detentions throughout my high school tenure due to tardiness. For all students, these unmanageable tardies add up to three within days and turn into an unavailing detention. Detention for three tardies is unnecessary and senseless; sitting in a quiet room for forty minutes isn’t going to change my ability to arrive on time to class. Detention for three tardies is unnecessary and senseless; sitting in a quiet room for forty minutes isn’t going to change my ability to arrive on time to class.

Detention for three tardies is unnecessary and senseless; sitting in a quiet room for forty minutes isn’t going to change my ability to arrive on time to class.”

— Anna Walker

For a typical high school student juggling school, grades, sports and extracurricular activities is tough enough. Detention is a waste of time unless a student is actually deserving of it; tardiness often falls out of one’s control. It’s understanding if a student is extremely late for a class period that they are punished, but it’s ridiculous for a student to receive punishment for a 30 second delay.

Various teachers treat students much too harshly considering the amount of effort a majority of us put into school. I have witnessed and experienced a teacher penalizing a student for being as much as 5 seconds late of the bell. I find it especially uncalled for if this student genuinely declares they had to use the restroom, yet they are still punished.

If BSM is in fact a college preparatory school, tardiness shouldn’t be as heavily enforced and definitely not prioritized. In college, students are penalized for arriving a tad late to class. This same principle goes for entering the workforce in the later life as well; my future employer most likely won’t react if I’m a minute or two late for work-let alone 20 or 30 seconds. There are multitudes of simple fixes for the unjust policy enforced at BSM School.

One adjustment could be a certain number of grace periods. For example, if a student is running late due to an emergency restroom stop, then that would be excused. I believe it is even-handed for each teacher to allow some grace periods per semester to each student. This grace period could be a length of 5 minutes following the bell at most.

Additionally, students shouldn’t be marked tardy if they arrive within one minute of the bell because it’s ridiculous to receive a punishment for that. With these slight changes, tardiness could become much less of a of a trivial stressor for students.

I have asked a few other students their perspective on the short amount of passing time we receive at BSM. One of the students said that in order to make it to class on time, she lugs around multiple hefty books in order to avoid stopping at her locker. Another student I asked stated she has “about a thousand” detentions from tardies to her class periods. This is obviously an issue among a large portion of the school and it requires modification. It’s up to our administration to loosen their stance on tardies, or foster the constant cycle of tardies and detentions.