Students Adjust to New Attendance Policies


Brook Wenande

Ms. Galper in her afternoon position checking out BSM seniors leaving early.

The attendance policies have several significant changes this year, some of which have left students quite frustrated. Previously, during COVID-19, rules were relaxed compared to previous years, but the policy has been tightened after pandemic restrictions were lifted.

Among the new changes, the policy includes a shift from 5 tardies per class resulting in detention, to 5 tardies across all classes for a detention. Additionally, students may lose class credit if they are gone for more than 8 total days of class. A closed campus policy prevents anyone, including seniors, from leaving during a free period that is during the middle of school. However, seniors may arrive late or leave during their first and last periods of the day, but if they leave, they are not allowed to return to school. If they choose not to leave at the end of the day, they must report to the library. “If you’re responsible enough for if you get like a parent to sign off on it, I think you should be able to leave,” junior Francis Steichen said.

Assistant Principal Matt Weingartz explained the administration’s policy is meant to keep students in school and focused on learning. The policy was significantly relaxed during COVID-19 in an attempt to limit the number of students on campus, with many privileges such as the ability to leave during a free period expanded. With COVID-19 restrictions removed this year, the administration felt it was time to reevaluate the policy “That’s kind of the focus, you know, being in person and being here. We only want students in school… [That’s why] Credit is tied into your actual attendance, you can get grades for the course [by being present]. But the actual credit is based off of being present,” Weingartz said.

These changes have left many students, especially seniors, unhappy. Many seniors are upset by the tightening attendance policy, as during most of their underclassman years and junior year they saw seniors coming and going freely. “We were told all of high school that ‘Oh, just wait ‘till your senior year and you’ll be able to leave’ but now that we’re here we don’t get to. It’s kind of sad,” senior Lily Peterson said.

Administration believes that this year, the policy is actually quite relaxed compared to before COVID-19. Before COVID-19, seniors could only leave school in second semester during the last periods of the day. So in many ways, the school sees the new policy as a loosening of restrictions. “I do believe in having seniors get a little bit more privileges than everybody else…[the new policies are] a little bit of a peel-back [from last year], it’s not completely the way it was five years ago,” Weingartz said.

Not everyone sees it this way. Many juniors don’t agree with this reasoning, believing that if seniors can leave, they should be able to as well. “I think juniors [should be able to leave] because they can get themselves places if they have their license. And they’re upperclassmen, so they have a little bit more responsibility than say sophomores and freshmen,” Steichen said.

Many students have been left confused by the new policy, with a lack of understanding of what is and isn’t allowed. Many changes, most notably the closed campus policy haven’t been communicated to some students. “I actually don’t know if I’m allowed to [leave school] or not. That was not made very clear,” senior Parker Thiede said.

The close-campus policy is not the only thing students have been upset by. Previously tardies were done on a per-class basis with five allowed per class; now it’s five total. Many students think five overall is far too little given everyday interruptions that can cause students to be late to class. “ I think Detention after five[tardies] and getting suspended after 10 is a little extreme, I think it’s intense,” Steichen said.

The administration does seem open to discussing the policy with students and staff if they think it needs updating. “The administrative team discusses and gets input from teachers and students when looking over policy,” Weingartz said.

However upset students may be with the new policies, administration doesn’t seem to be budging on any of them. This has left many students frustrated despite claiming to include student input in making their new policy. “With the tardies, I think it’s a little excessive in my opinion because… To say that five tardies total is your limit… everybody’s late everybody has those days and I just think it’s unreasonable,” Peterson said.