Tardy policy counterintuitive


The current tardy policy is not effective in preventing students from being late. The rationale behind the current tardy policy is that every minute matters when it comes to education, so to incentivize students to not miss any class, they accumulate ‘points’; indicators of what school administration deems ‘bad behavior’. The tardy policy is actually counter-intuitive and keeps students from attending class for another 10-15 minutes after they’ve arrived at school. If every minute matters, tardy policies must be reformed in such a way that does serve to punish students who were running a bit behind, if not completely abolished.

It’s self-explanatory how the design of the tardy policy at NHS is counterintuitive. Mrs. Johnson, the woman in charge of overseeing all tardy students, as well as those in ISS, believes that the tardy policy is put in place to incentivize students to get to class on time because every second matters. While this is a reasonable perspective to see attendance, it falls short in acknowledging the obvious flaw: If it’s believed every second matters, how is preventing students from going to class for 10-15 minutes making the best of our time? According to the University of Oxford, the human brain cannot fully function until ten a.m. due to the fact that the average person’s melatonin (the chemical in your brain responsible for regulating sleep) cycle becomes optimized at that time. 

If schools were to push back start times to better accommodate the melatonin cycle, or the tardy policy be abolished as a whole, there would naturally be students who take advantage of that and come into school late every day. But according to Johns Hopkins University, roughly 15% of students are absent or tardy from school every day anyways; 32% of those students were absent because they were reportedly ‘too tired’ to go to class.

According to the Center for Advancing Health (CFAH), “Only eight percent of high school students receive enough sleep on an average school night.” If this is a factor that will not change, perhaps the school should take matters into its own hands, and better accommodate for students’ inability to get enough sleep, and push back the start time for school, or even abolish the tardy policy and not punishing students for simply trying to get enough sleep to function.


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