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Students resort to cutting class to study

Intense coursework, extracurriculars can be overwhelming, promoting strategic cutting, chronic absenteeism despite district goals to increase attendance rates
Art+by+Rachel+Lee
Art by Rachel Lee

The PAUSD Promise, a set of guiding principles that Palo Alto Unified Schools uses to guide its policies and practices, says one of its missions is for its students to maintain healthy attendance.

In other words, the district wants every student in class as long as they are healthy.

However, in a survey conducted by The Campanile through Schoology, over 40% of the 36 students who responded said they have skipped a class to catch up on school-related work.

The survey also indicated students feel the need to cut class when they have multiple tests on a single day, as many say they cannot study for that many tests in one day.

Senior Alexis Carey said he has skipped classes because of his rigorous extracurricular schedule.

“Sometimes there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to get the studying done that I needed to, so I would skip class,” Carey said.

Other students, including sophomore Aiden Chen, say they never skip classes to study for tests.

Most of those surveyed agreed skipping classes for academic purposes is OK, and 80% of students who say they have never skipped a class think skipping classes for academic purposes is acceptable.

Carey said skipping classes should not be taken lightly, however.

“There are certain situations where skipping class is necessary or beneficial,” Carey said. “But it’s also wrong, and I do feel guilty when I skip class.”

Assistant Principal Erik Olah said administrators are aware that students occasionally skip classes to study. He also said this is not a new issue.

“We used to call it strategic cutting, where the student would skip a class to go study,” Olah said. “They would pick classes where they thought, ‘Yeah, it’s no big deal if I missed this one today.’”

According to the Campanile Schoology survey, students also sometimes skip school to catch a mental health break.

“Paly culture can tear you to pieces,” an anonymous senior said in their survey response.

Olah said he hopes the district has put enough measures in place to help students who are struggling in tough situations, which may lead to skipping class.

He also said if students ever feel overwhelmed, they should reach out for help by going to the Wellness Center or talking to their counselor.

“I would love it if no student felt like he or she would have to skip a class to study,” Olah said. “Hopefully, we have measures built in, so that we can be on top of the situation before it becomes overwhelming.”

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Lucas Yuan, Managing Editor
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