New Tardy-Battling Strategy Questioned by Students

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New Tardy-Battling Strategy Questioned by Students

Rachel Slay, Staff Writer

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With new administration comes new methods of action. Lee Williams, Assistant Principal for Student Affairs, is the voice of Gaither’s newly-implemented tardy sweep policy. The sweeps began after the first few weeks of the school year, occurring sporadically. As of late, tardy sweeps have happened once or twice a day.

When the tardy sweep announcement is made, teachers must close and lock their doors at the sound of the tardy bell. Students who are not in their class on time must report to the cafeteria to receive a pass. After receiving the pass, they may proceed to class. Tardy students who do not follow this procedure are sent to detention for the remainder of the period, for what Williams affectionately calls “the extended tardy party.”

“The improvement has been drastic. When we do sweeps, we see three to seven tardy students so, out of 2,000, that’s pretty great,” said Williams.

Students are becoming frustrated with the policy because when caught in a sweep, they are forced to miss the first five to ten minutes of instruction, rather than walking into class thirty seconds late. The announcements gain more resentment with each “tardy party” invitation.

“The students who don’t care will still not care and be late, and it only adds more stress to the people who try to get to class on time,” said senior Michael Gant.

Gant was caught in a tardy sweep while making his daily trek from one end of campus to the other. Because of the sweep, Gant was ten minutes late to his approximately 40-minute Economics class.

“With the later start time in the morning, there are even more kids tardy to school now. If you’re late to school, you’re late to your job,” said Williams.

Effective this school year, first period begins at 8:30 a.m. and the school day is 35 minutes shorter. To fit this time deduction, class duration was shortened.  The passing period was changed from five minutes to four minutes and the attendance period was adjusted from 13 minutes to 11 minutes. The attendance period is a designated time slot at the end of second period during which the morning announcement show, GTV, is played and teachers submit their attendance.

“[Take] time away from the attendance period to give back the five-minute passing period instead of doing tardy sweeps to skew the data of recorded tardies,” said junior Audrey Rey.

There was significant uproar from students regarding the shortening of the passing period this year. Unfortunately, this year’s students will not receive consolation.

“Even when we had five minutes, they were still tardy… The more [time] you give, the more they want… We’re thinking of going back to the five-minute passing period, but not this school year. It is a possibility. It may be different next year,” said Williams.

Students planning to remain at Gaither for the 2019-2020 school year can hope for a possible schedule change. Until then, pupils are encouraged to welcome the daily announcements beginning with “Sweep. Sweep. Sweep,” for the next few months.

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