By Eva Mandelbaum
As of November 29, 2021, a new lateness policy has been established at White Plains High School to ensure hallway and bathroom safety. The policy essentially states that if students are late to a class three times, they will get an after-school detention. This policy has stirred controversy among students, along with many questions.
The new policy is meant to decrease the overall number of unexcused 'tardies' to classes, which have seemed to spike this school year, as students have returned to in-person learning. “Attendance and being on time to classes is important for student success,” Principal Martinez explains. “Students with 3 or more unexcused 'tardies' in a specific class may be issued an after-school detention by their teacher.” He also said that this policy is an additional tool to improve students arriving to class on time because “showing up to class on time is an important habit to develop.”
Fostering relationships between students and their teachers is imperative to encouraging a successful environment at White Plains High School. "I think this will help deter some students from taking more time than necessary to transition from class to class. I do think that the most effective way to improve student attendance is to ensure our students and teachers build positive relationships. Because of this, I still expect that before we are quick to use this tool, it is important that we speak to students about arriving to class on time consistently,” Principal Martinez explains.
This new policy is not meant to replace communication in any way; rather, it is intended for use as a second option to encourage discipline, relationships between WPHS students and staff remaining the first most important.
Many students have shown concern about this policy. “I do have concerns. Do first period latenesses count? Because in the mornings things are out of your control. If you’re hanging out with your friends or are late to class for another reason, it may not be fair to be counted as late,” one WPHS student said. Another student shared similar concerns: “I agree that there shouldn’t be in-school detention because if they’re missing class anyway they don’t care about getting in-school detention. “They should give us more time in between classes because there’s too many people, making it overcrowded and hard to get to class.”
These concerns are completely valid: after all, things that are out of a student’s control will happen, and it is important for teachers to foster an environment without unnecessary stress. To avoid worrying about this new policy, it is imperative to understand that students may appeal a referral to their house administrator if there are extenuating circumstances.
“It is important to note that students who are arriving late to class with a pass, are considered to have an excused tardy and therefore should not result in those 'tardies' be tallied towards the three that lead to a detention,” Principal Martinez adds.
So, no need to stress over this new policy. As long as you do what you can to get to class on time or with a pass, you will be just fine.