New attendance policy is long overdue, discourages cuts

On Sept. 25, Principal Kim Diorio announced a new attendance policy designed to keep students in class. In contrast to last year’s policy, which removed the Saturday school consequence, called home once and gave parents a 48-hour grace period to call a student in and called home once, the 2013-2014 attendance policy brings back Saturday school, adding a second home-call and extending the calling period to 72 hours.

After the first and second cut, students will receive autodialer messages home. After the third cut, students will receive the autodialer message and a cut letter. After the fourth cut in the same class, students must attend Saturday school. After the fifth cut, students will receive one or more of the following punishments: loss of a prep period, family conference, additional Saturday school, loss of open campus privilege, counseling referral or referral to SARB (School Attendance Review Board).

Under last year’s policy, cutting was a growing problem; the school experienced the largest amount of cutting it had in the last seven years. There was a total of 21,636 cuts — an average of 10.94 cuts a student and 54.7 percent of students were chronic cutters, cutting three or more times throughout the year.

The Campanile applauds Diorio for immediately stepping up and piloting a new attendance policy to keep students in check and keep them going to class. Not only is the administration implementing stricter ramifications for chronic cutters, but it is also improving its absence verification. Under the new policy, the school may require verification in cases of questionable or excessive absenteeism.

Though the unexcused absences do not affect school funding, it does affect the school’s reputation. But more important than its reputation is student learning. The administration, through keeping students in class, is clearly making an effort to improve student success.

When students cut, they miss the opportunity to learn the material that other students do.

The administration emphasizes the preciousness of students’ time in class learning and the time they spend with their teachers. The implementation of the stringent policy this year is to act as a deterrent to keep students from cutting class.

Cutting was an issue last year especially, and the administration is acting responsibly to try to tackle that issue by adapting its new policy in an attempt to fix the growing issues of the previous policy.