Wednesday, July 23, 2014
   
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Making students accountable behind new GHS tardy policy

Lateness means hour detention after school.

Helping kids become better citizens is the crux of a new tardy policy at Gothenburg High School.

Since the start of the year, students who aren’t in their classrooms by 8:15 a.m., or after lunch at 1 p.m., are considered tardy and must get a make-up slip from the high school office. They then must serve an hour detention after school.

“In the work force, a person who is late for work will sooner or later be fired,” said high school principal Randy Evans who learned about a similar policy during a visit to Fremont Public Schools where he said it seemed to be working.

Evans said first-period teachers now shut and lock the doors at 8:15 a.m. which is also part of the school’s safe school policy.

In addition to wanting to help students learn how to be more responsible, he said the new rule enhances learning because kids are not late to class.

Some students, Evans said, were habitually walking into class five to nine minutes after class started.

“It’s not fair to the other students to start a lesson and be disrupted,” he said.

Last year, administrators instituted a policy in which seven tardies in one class meant students couldn’t attend the next school dance.

Habitually late students were also required to spend 15 minutes after school in the classroom in which they walked in late.

“It helped but not that much,” Evans said. “This policy is easy, clean, everyone understands it and there’s an immediate consequence.”

At this point, he said the policy is working as first-period tardies have dropped from 84 last year to 28 so far this year.

“It’s all about being held accountable for time management,” he said.

Evans noted that everyone oversleeps or is late for other reasons once in awhile.

“This is a nice reminder that we need to be accountable, especially when students go to college,” he said.

The principal said he thinks society, in general, has become more casual about punctuality and that GHS can set a positive example.

“It’s all about being consistent,” Evans said.

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