By Destiny Stewart & Marcus Finley
Oakland High’s staff feel like they have found the best solution to student tardiness: tardy sweeps!
Starting Oct. 11, 2010, students arrived at 8:15 to find the gates were locked. Principal Alicia Romero and the school’s other administrators were leading tardy students to the theater, asking for student IDs because students were a few minutes late. What led Oakland High’s administrators to this option?
“Students are missing instruction,” said Anisa Rasheed, Assistant Principal. “Tardiness affects student achievement. School is the students.”
According to counselor Jim Wallace, tardiness is a big problem at Oakland High this year. Maybe students aren’t taking their education as seriously. No matter what part of Oakland you live in, administrators feel like you should be able to make it to school on time every day. Students who are late all have various reasons, but regardless, they do want to receive a decent education.
“It’s not fair,” said junior Delamontae Stewart. “Some students live far and have to catch the bus. Parents might be late, the staff doesn’t know what the case is.”
Other students agree with Stewart that maybe this new policy isn’t actually the best solution to student tardiness.
“I went from tardy to absent because of this policy,” said Devanio Cousins, a senior. “It’s just not fair.”
Other students share Cousins’s opinion that tardy sweeps make you miss more class time and instruction than you were going to miss before.
“It’s ridiculous,” said senior Teresa Leu. “Just because you’re a minute late, you miss out on 40 minutes of class?”
However, other students said that they felt like something needed to be done about tardiness, and tardy sweeps were the first step. Some suggested that maybe locking the gates will be the best solution to deny students access if they are tardy to school.
Ms. Romero and the other staff are all taking a stand to address this issue. Ms. Romero may even start making tardy sweeps more frequent, because the staff are noticing that it’s not just first period that students are late. It’s being repeated, especially after lunch when many students come 10 to 15 minutes after instruction begins.
Although Ms. Rasheed stated on Oct. 14 that the staff were beginning to notice progress, Ms. Romero announced on Oct. 18 that tardies will be no longer tolerated at any time of the school day. She added that after-lunch tardy sweeps would begin that day.
Tardy sweeps have negative and positive viewpoints. The staff feel like establishing tardy sweeps will teach students responsibility, but students fear that it the new policy is unjust because they are losing time from their education.