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Admin institutes new policy to encourage attendance, punctuality

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As the semester begins, administration is taking steps to encourage positive attendance habits using money, donuts and a new policy.

Last semester, students would reportedly show up more than 10 minutes late to a class in order to avoid a tardy due to an imbalance in consequences. According to last semester’s policy, three tardies meant a detention and five a Friday night school, while an absence went without consequence.

Principal Phil Bressler decided something had to change.

The school has adopted a revamped policy which covers absences and tardies and has consequences for both. Parent-verified absences are a new addition to the policy meant to represent reasons for students’ absences. Conversely, for every unverified absence, students will receive a 30-minute detention for every class period the student misses.

“If you’re unexcused, there must be a consequence for not showing up to school. It has to be as harsh or harsher than the consequences for a tardy,” Bressler said. “What we’re after is limiting the times that students just skip school. If you can’t be at school because of a doctor’s appointment or a dentist appointment or whatever it is, you’ve got verification and it’s not a problem.”

In order to give students a reason for adhering to the new rules, Bressler has brought back finals exemptions. However, in order to qualify for an exemption, you must have no tardies in that class and no more than three absences along with a grade above 80 percent.

Junior Morgan Noe worries that the finals exemptions policy can be skewed.

“Some kids get sick more than others,” Noe said. “It can be unfair to those kids if they miss a week with the flu or pneumonia.”

Every Friday, Bressler might be seen walking down the halls in the morning looking for a class to reward with a box of donuts. This is another facet to the administration’s plan to inspire responsible behavior. But if one student is tardy or absent first hour, no one gets donuts.

Bressler also introduced the Punctuality Ball in hopes of detering skipping class and in-school tardies. The Punctuality Ball, sponsored by University Bank, is a drawing every Friday that rewards a randomly chosen student from each grade with $25 or more, depending on whether or not the previous week had a winner.

“The way it works is that we draw a name for each grade looking for full attendance,” Bressler said. “If the student has zero tardies or absences, they win $25.”

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