May 8, 2022
By Jessica Cerrito
LHS’ new policy addressing tardiness went into effect on April 4.
Students who are tardy more than two times in one week can now expect to face disciplinary action. A first infraction will result in lunch detention the following week, and multiple violations could lead to Saturday school. A tardy is defined as being late at the start of the school day, after lunch or between classes.
Vice Principal Mr. Venezia said the policy was enacted as a result of an increase in the number of students who are tardy. He said the pandemic caused students to become lax about getting to school on time, so the administration felt it was necessary to intervene.
“Many students are late to class and missing vital instructions and lessons. Coming into class late interrupts the flow of the lesson and causes a distraction to the learning and procedures being implemented.”
“One of the things we really need to do as a school is to help students develop good habits that are going to be lifelong skills, and being on time is one of those good habits,” Venezia said. “When you are not on time, it is kind of disrespectful to other people. It’s a very competitive world out there, and when you’re out looking for a job or looking to make an athletic team, [being late] delivers a message. Whether it’s a fair evaluation of a person or not, people get that negative impression.”
Venezia said students should aim to arrive at LHS by 8 a.m. so they have time to stop at their lockers and get to class before the first bell rings at 8:10 a.m.
“There’s an old saying that if you’re not 15 minutes early, you’re late. I really stand by this saying. Even my nine-year-old daughter knows it,” Venezia said.
He recommends that students who are frequently tardy examine what they need to do to get ready for school and consider how much time they require.
“I suggest making sure you have all your stuff together and making sure you have your Chromebook charged. Think about what you want to wear the next day, and lay out your clothes,” Venezia said.
Dean of Students Mr. Rowland said during the first week the policy was in effect, the number of students who were tardy dropped significantly. He said during a typical week, about 70-75 students were late more than twice a week. The week of April 4, 38 students were late more than twice.
Sophomore Isabella Guzman, who has never been late to school, said she doubts the new policy will lead to a long-term shift in behavior because students who are chronically late most likely do not care about receiving lunch detention. She also said there should be exceptions to the policy.
“Students who can drive to school may experience the problems of not having anywhere to park their vehicles, and attempting to find a spot may make them late. There may be traffic in the mornings as well, which may cause some precious time to be spent trying to safely navigate and get to school,” Guzman said.
She said the policy is unfair because someone who is late by a few seconds should not receive the same penalty as someone who is 10 or more minutes late.
“There are so many students who could be having a rough time at home, and they don’t feel comfortable or they are embarrassed to tell someone [what] is the reasoning behind them being late,” Guzman said. “Or maybe [it’s] just a rough week in general, and they put their best effort into getting to school and class on time, but somehow it’s not good enough.”
Junior Henry Pinto, who is frequently late, said he disagrees with LHS’ tardy policy because it does not address the cause of students’ lateness.
“If the district pushes [the start time] to 8:20 a.m. or 8:25 a.m., we will see major changes with few students being late, and we will avoid policies like this one.”
Pinto said the administration should instead focus its attention on other issues such as fixing the ventilation system or repairing the broken desks in the building. However, Pinto said he understands the importance of developing good habits regarding punctuality.
“It’s important to show up on time to school because not only do we avoid getting new policies from the school like the current one, we also become more responsible, and it helps us prepare for the future in case we have to be somewhere at a given time,” Pinto said.
Business and technology teacher Mrs. Huntington said students who are late by only a few seconds should receive the same penalty as those who are late by a few minutes.
“Late is late. In the real world, being late will cost you. Perhaps getting a job, maybe a promotion, but most definitely it will cost you your hard-earned cash. When you are late in paying your bills, expect to pay more,” Huntington said.
She said the policy is necessary because it serves as a deterrent rather than a punishment.
“Many students are late to class and missing vital instructions and lessons. Coming into class late interrupts the flow of the lesson and causes a distraction to the learning and procedures being implemented,” Huntington said. “Hopefully, students will show up on time and recognize the value of their time and the message they are sending when they are late.”