Keeping it Timely: The Tardy Rundown


Cameron Bethea

The Brentwood High student handbook includes all of the rules and regulations

When the student body was polled on, 79% said students should not be punished for being late, and 21% disagreed. “Parents should have a say in whether their children get a detention, but at the same time, that’s hard because most parents do not know the rules of the school. Also, they weren’t there to see what caused their child to get a detention,” said Jaya Greene, a junior at Brentwood High School. 

One form of discipline that is often difficult to determine is a punishment for tardies. Some students at Brentwood High School believe that we shouldn’t be reprimanded for being late if we can’t control it. “If a student gets punished for being late a certain number of times, that won’t help them not to be late,” said Camille Harris, a sophomore at Brentwood High School. Harris also stated that “there is no excuse for students who live down the street from the school to be late.” Harris thinks that punishments at Brentwood are fair to those who deserve to suffer the consequences for their actions.

 She is a student who believes that classmates shouldn’t be punished for being tardy to their first-hour class if they live too far from school and can’t control when they get to school. Harris feels like there should be some system for students who can’t always be on time.

Tardies are enforced to support students.

— Dr. Johnson

 At Brentwood, the tardy policy states that the student must be in the classroom before the bell rings or they are tardy on attendance. After the second tardy, the student will receive a thirty-minute detention assigned by the teacher. For the third and fourth tardy sixty-minute detentions will be given, after the fourth, a parent or guardian will be contacted by the teacher and documented on a referral. For the fifth tardy, students will be sent to the office and assigned in-school detention for the remainder of the period. The teacher will contact the parent or guardian and document the impact of the unexcused absences on the student’s course grade.

 The reason some students are tardy to class is that they’re going to the bathroom. Some aren’t in the bathroom vaping or talking, they’re actually trying to get to the restroom. Since there’s not enough time between classes, students get upset when teachers say that they can’t go to the restroom during class, like sophomore Kya Hawthorne. “I feel like the teachers shouldn’t have much of a say in us going to the bathroom during class. Yes, I get it’s learning time, but when we have to go, we have to go.” Teachers expect students to go to the bathroom during the passing period, but

Cameron Bethea
Excerpts on tardies and other rules in the handbook

Hawthorne thinks that it’s not much of an option because of the short time between classes. When everyone is in the bathroom, there aren’t enough stalls for them. “So really, our only time to go to the bathroom is during class,” says Hawthorne, “and I feel like the teachers also need to understand that they want us to adjust to the construction going on. Just like we have to adjust to the construction, teachers should adjust to us adjusting to the construction.”

Brentwood High School is currently under construction, which should be done at the end of summer 2020, but until then, some of the exits and entrances have been blocked off, which makes it difficult for students to get to and from class. There are also fewer bathrooms due to construction. “I think students are using the construction as an excuse,“ says Brentwood Health and P.E. teacher, Mrs. German. “I use the bathroom between classes all the time, and I’m never late.”

 If someone is having trouble getting to school on time, administration will try to help that student in whatever way they can. “We will talk with the student and call home to get the situation’s details,” said Assistant Principal, Stephen Ayotte. Depending on the situation, the administration will work with the parent when they know the details of the issues. This all depends on whether the student is just choosing not to come to class against legit issues, like car trouble, or living in a different district. 

Just like we have to adjust to the construction, teachers should adjust to us adjusting to the construction.

— Kya Hawthorne

According to Dr. Ayotte, the future plans for controlling tardies and publicizing their importance are to inform the teachers. There will be messages at faculty meetings and professional development, too. “In general, some teachers follow it tightly, and some don’t which complicates things,” said Dr. Ayotte. 

St. Louis Public Schools says that students with good attendance achieve higher grades. “When students miss a day of school, it actually puts them two days behind their classmates.” Excused and unexcused absences add up to lost opportunities to learn. St. Louis Public Schools also says that missing just one day every two weeks can add up to 18 days a year. 

 No matter what, students, teachers, and parents all want everyone safe. Brentwood has to work together to make the school better for everyone.