The soft spoken but no less frustrating announcement, “teachers and students this is a tardy lock-out period,” is still ringing in many students’ ears. Perhaps it is the frequency with which this condemnation is uttered that is its most trying feature, perhaps the negative association with the word “lock-out” which turns the mind to delinquency, but the true vice of the new policy is almost certainly its blatant injustice.
The tardy lock-out system targets kids who are rarely or barely late to class. Students who were often late or who strutted into class fifteen minutes after the bell were already punished under the old regime. The TD-5 rule made sure that there was a limit placed on the amount of time a student could be late without consequence, and the “three-strikes law” ensured a cap on unpunished tardies. Now students who tried to get from upstairs E-hall to upstairs A-hall in time, but got a stitch in their side on the way are punished with the same severity as students who partake in frequent late arrivals or ‘get lost’ and ‘find themselves at Shell’ between classes. Facetiousness aside, the new system is clearly not fulfilling its goal if panicked freshmen are given the same retribution as veteran rule-breakers.
The policy also puts blame on the students where they are not at fault. Not to mention any names, but certain math teachers aren’t loath to give quizzes in the last three minutes of class with an ambiguous “you can stay a few minutes after the bell,” to console tearful trig-tense testudines. The necessity to stay a few minutes after class is sometimes unavoidable, and under this new policy nothing can excuse a tardy. Students are thus wrongfully convicted of dilly-dallying.
Fear of being locked out for tardiness causes students to neglect important between class activities- like bathroom visits. Most teachers detest when students interrupt class to ask to relieve themselves. This puts students in an impossible situation: they can neither go to the restroom during passing periods nor during class… surely the administration doesn’t wish to induce a series of urinary tract infections?
The objectives of tardy precedents are understandable and admirable; however, this ultra-strict scheme is not the best equipped to achieve them. Perhaps if the AP’s tried a more sympathetic approach, such as an extension-before-lock-out before the first and last classes of the day, they would obtain better results. After all, high school students are not perfect, well-oiled machines; sometimes we spend too long doing our make-up or take the risk in driving to Prince Lebanese for lunch. It is our inconsistency and individuality that inspired most teachers and administrators to pursue their line of work, and to standardize another aspect of our existence would be a shame.