Opinion: Students Find Reinforced Tardy Rules at WHS Problematic

Yael Bugaev '24, Lead Feature Editor

This school year, a set of rules is now being reinforced at the high school. After three tardies to school, a student will receive a break detention. After the next tardy it will be a lunch detention and will continue on. Many students believe that the tardy consequences are a new set of rules, but students were told by administration that these rules were already in place and are now enforced.

In the student handbook the rule states, “Signing in after 8:25 – Students may be assigned an office detention or be required to stay after school for extra help that day.” For a full explanation of the tardy rules, please see the WHS Student Handbook, page 33. https://www.westboroughk12.org/common/pages/DisplayFile.aspx?itemId=47013396

One student who experienced their first break detention wanted to share their experience. The student wishes to remain anonymous.

“My experience was quite unpleasant to say the least. There are some troubles getting to school on time that the school isn’t accounting for. Such as the vigorous traffic that lines up in the upper and main entrance of the school. I have entered the line of traffic on Ruggles (Street) twice at 8:03 a.m. and the traffic sits for an exceedingly long time. I walked in expecting the attendance to get pushed back and it wasn’t to my surprise. The traffic as a whole is a huge problem at WHS, and there should be actions for better organization so students aren’t late to class.

I was called down in the middle of class, we went to the office and sat on the bench for roughly 10-12 minutes, and then all of break. Me and another student were so confused as to why we were there. There was no initial explanation, and was poorly organized as many other students were called down-just as confused as the rest of us. Then Mrs. Barrett, and the new Vice principal, Mrs. Mercadante, would call you up individually and ask “so why are you late, is there a problem here?” It was very ironic as most tradies are due to the school’s lack of sufficient organization with parking and drop offs. It felt very harsh for three tardies, in which I showed up at 8:11a.m. each time, two times against my own will. Some of my other friends already have three tardies and weren’t called down, but I was. It is so inconsistent.

Time range is not consistent or accurate. If I show up at 8:11 a.m. or anytime after the pledge of allegiance, my teacher will send me down. The student handbook states at 8:25 a.m. that is a suspendable tardy. So if the trady time is 8:25 a.m. Why are we starting at 8:10 a.m. in the first place? I predict that if they are doing this level of punishment for only three tardies, that by the end of the year half the school will be in the office serving detentions.”

In the initial school email to students, Mr. Callaghan shared that phones, bathroom passes, headphone rules would all be enforced. However, there was no mention of the tardy consequences. Many students are in shock and would have preferred to know this information before having their three tardies. This rule could also have been mentioned during the school assembly that occurred a few weeks ago. It should have been told to the students before it was rigorously enforced.

Sometimes, students come in late to school because they spend time at night doing homework and want to get the chance to sleep in, because they were focusing on school at night. Or they have trouble coming into the school due to the traffic on the front and back side of the school. Furthermore, there are many personal reasons as to why students come in tardy. Another concern is often teachers are inconsistent with sending students down to the office if the students are late to walking into class. Administration needs to work with teachers to be more consistent and flexible in deciding whether or not coming in a minute after the bell is tardy.

There is no doubt a lot of students will be tardy during the school year. Having three tardies to start the cycle of detentions is harsh. The hope is that the Administration will extend the number of tardies to five before issuing detentions (as well as this number being reset after each quarter).