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Dec. 12, 2006

Detention policy gets itself in trouble

by Ethan Kuhnhenn, Online Managing Editor
First came the cowbells, now it's detention. Things are getting increasingly worse for those afflicted with chronic tardiness.

The administration's recent implementation of a new detention policy, tested two weeks ago in the freshman hallway, is going big time. Now, students across Blair will be subjected to hall sweeps. Kids found outside classrooms after the bell rings will be locked out and given detentions.

It's obvious that the administration is concerned with tardiness, especially in the 10th and 11th grade classes, and however misguided the new detention policy is, it wouldn't be an issue if more students came to class on time. However, the administration could be more imaginative in their approach to tackling student tardiness. The new detention policy, implemented without student input from the SGA, will only alienate the student body.

In addition to a multitude of other legitimate excuses for late arrival (car and student traffic), a new policy aimed at restricting hall and bathroom passes during classes will contribute to tardiness. A new policy this year allotted students only one "emergency" bathroom pass in all English classes. Many teachers allow passes from class only a few times per semester. The consequence: longer lines at drinking fountains and bathrooms during passing time. A student who needs to use the bathroom and has class on the opposite side of the school will be hard-pressed to make it to class in a fleeting 8 minutes.

The new policy also punishes students twice for the same offense. Isn't there some double jeopardy clause that we could work in here? Teachers are already supposed to manage student tardies and absences under the "Loss of Credit" policy. If a student is late for class 15 times over a semester, he or she fails the course. The threat of an LC obviously isn't alleviating student tardiness, but that's because teacher and administrative enforcement of the LC policy is lax. Instead of punishing students with after school detention, which isn't a viable option for kids who work or need to be home after school, the administration should concentrate on improving enforcement of the policy they already have.

In spite of the administration's attempts to encourage student attendance, the new detention policy may just have the opposite effect. For some students at Blair, neither the LC nor the detention policies are deterrents for tardiness. It's likely that some students will simply skip the class they arrived late to instead of facing detention. The new policy would also extend tardiness for students who are late, by making them find their administrator and then wait to be issued a pass and detention slip (Who wants to wait around to be punished, anyway?). A student arriving only seconds late to class would probably not cause much of a disturbance. With the new policy, once the student is directed to the administrator and comes back to class five minutes later, the teacher has probably already began her lesson plan and would be interrupted by a delayed entrance.

The administration's autocratic implementation of the new detention policy comes only months after the controversial ID policy, which many students opposed because of a perceived lack of student representation in the issue. Now, the administration has developed a punishment for tardiness without any student input.

For a questionable policy that would affect large numbers of Blair students, the administration should have at least told the SGA what they were doing before they made the announcement to the student body. Now, only time will tell if the new detention policy effectively cuts back on student tardiness or causes a bigger problem: hundreds of disgruntled students in detention or kids skipping class in order to avoid what they believe is a harsh and unfair punishment for an offense that, often times, has a legitimate excuse.




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  • Raymond jordan III (View Email) on December 12, 2006 at 11:11 AM
    a detention bcuz your late one time? thats pretty low.....and someone might be on a power trip with giving detentions
  • Amen on December 12, 2006 at 2:01 PM
    I completely agree, especially with the double-jeopardy thing and how LC is not being enforced as much as it should. I also would like to know if any teachers already locked their door when the bell rings.(besides the experiment in the freshman hallways) because the admin said that teachers have always been allowed to lock their doors at the bell. My second question is when is one considered late? When the bell begins to ring, or when it is done? because there is a good amount of time between when the bell begins ringing and stops ringing.
  • Libertarian (View Email) on December 12, 2006 at 7:11 PM
    "The administration could be more imaginative in their approach to tackling student lateness, and the new detention policy, implemented without student input from the SGA, will only alienate the student body." Since when have they cared about alienating the student body? "The new policy also punishes students twice for the same offense. Isn't there some double jeopardy clause that we could work in here?" Nope, it's you can't be tried for the same crime twice or punished twice. This is punished once, the punishment is 1/3 of an unexcused absence plus a detention. I disagree with it but it is NOT double jeopardy. "In addition to a multitude of other legitimate excuses for late arrival (car and student traffic)..." Your previous article addressed this. You can get passes to go to class if you're late. You will get an unexcused tardy still but will not get detention if you're late because of traffic. "the administration should concentrate on improving enforcement of the policy they already have. " It's enforced fine, the problem they had was TOO MANY people were LCing. They are stiffening the punishment to get less people to do it. It would seem perfectly logical if the school system had any business doing it. It's the kid's education and their loss. If they're going to come late too many times they have to pay the price of LCing a course. "It's very likely that some students will simply skip the class they arrived late to instead of facing detention." There are hall sweeps, they would get caught and get a punishment probably worse than detention for trying to skip. "the controversial ID policy, which many students opposed because of a perceived lack of student representation in the issue." Wrong, the ID policy had lots of SGA input, it was just a stupid policy. This is a stupid policy too, but that's the reason. Student input has nothing to do with it. "the administration should have at least told the SGA what they were doing before they made the announcement to the student body." Why? This is a policy affecting ALL students, not just the SGA. In conclusion, I agree with the side you're trying to support, although you don't do a great job. Thanks for making us who see the flaw in this policy look like idiots by making false claims and simply using bad logic.
  • blazer on December 12, 2006 at 7:19 PM
    No joke.
  • Can't Wait on December 12, 2006 at 7:40 PM
    Can't wait to hear the mindless ravings of people upset without knowing anything - much the same way they were upset about the ID policy.
  • Clarification (View Email) on December 12, 2006 at 10:47 PM
    In addition to a multitude of other legitimate excuses for late arrival (car and student traffic), -- These are not legitimate excuse for being tardy/late. The state and county set the excuses -- court summons, illness, school bus late.
  • see me then (View Email) on December 13, 2006 at 7:33 AM
    yeah this policy is really unfair. and the fact that they didnt talk to the sga just shows they know the policy is going to get a negative response from the students. administration needs to stop slummin so hard and just chill. get rid of one of the policies, either lc or detention, and just make the other work. and i think its when its done ringing, but im not sure.
  • daniel solis on December 13, 2006 at 12:19 PM
    i don't think this new policy is going to work for student who get tardie to class
  • yo on December 13, 2006 at 12:31 PM
    the administration is so stupid. its like they gather around in their offices bored out of their minds thinking of new ways to make the school even more miserable. where is the SGA or the PTA for this? im sure they must have a say in the situation. but really i dont think this will last very long, especially after the administration realizes that the students could care less and wont be going to the afterschool detentions.
  • ebird on December 13, 2006 at 7:41 PM
    good arguements. may b i skipped it, but what about the fact taht if u know ur going to b late, or if u arrive just seconds late, its pretty much smarter to skip the class entirely rather than take the detention. muy stupido
  • aeihksjh on December 14, 2006 at 8:06 PM
    i agree this is rediculous. i go to kennedy and they've started doing this there also. the difference is that at kennedy they say you'll be suspended if you are caught in the halls (even once). the only way to get out of being suspended is if your parents come in and talk to the administration. what about the people whose parents can't afford to take time off from work?... they only enforce this about twice a week though, so it's pretty easy to get by.
  • TinTIn on December 15, 2006 at 12:25 PM
    I love this policy. It is great.
  • Ayman G on December 15, 2006 at 1:58 PM
    i need sum time 2 put on my mascara n dis policy dun let me
  • lilkunta3 (View Email) on December 16, 2006 at 12:33 PM
    What the h*** is wrong with Blair. Every few week it is some new bull policy.
    1st the obvious segregation/ostricization( is that even a word) of the color coded ids 7 ids strings. Now this locking doors, detention, suspension.

    All this does is cause more discourse.
    Gainous had his hey day--when he made good changes & defended his students--but it seems to be gone. Gainous needs to retire and bring in flesh blood who will run the school, and not run the students out of school.
  • omo segual on December 16, 2006 at 10:18 PM
    i totally agree with ayman g. i have problems in the morning also
  • A on December 17, 2006 at 5:24 PM
    This new policy is bull, and your right in the artical, the administration doesnt realize how much hatred they'v awoken.
  • Good Points (View Email) on December 17, 2006 at 8:43 PM
    you know what these stupid policies are? The administration has no real control over the student body, they know it, and so they make rules to try and be crazy control freaks and have more power. Not only are students ready to protest, a lot of parents arn't happy with the new policies.
  • cheerleader on December 18, 2006 at 8:52 AM
    this policy is teh fascist
  • freshman on December 18, 2006 at 7:12 PM
    After the ID and PFOX scandals, if the press catches onto this, the school will be raided by angry news-readers. I mean, seriously! After those incidents, don't we look primitive enough? 3 stories about Blair's idiotic policies in 1 semester... this could get interesting for everyone involved.
  • Eli Barnett on December 18, 2006 at 7:18 PM
    Another bandage instead of a real fix for a problem. A sloppy one at that. "We want you in class, so we are going to lock you out!" Why do stupid policies like this seem to be a recurring theme in our administration?
  • spelling. on December 19, 2006 at 3:21 PM
    Re: A.
    A :: 12/17/2006, 5:24 PM
    This new policy is bull, and your right in the artical, the administration doesnt realize how much hatred they'v awoken.
    _____________________________________-
    "A" i see what you're saying but, if you're going to make a point...-Oh dear god, learn how to spell. Spelling mistakes, and the many that you have makes me not care about what you're saying. Instead I'm focusing on your spelling.
  • Electrabuzz (View Email) on December 19, 2006 at 6:16 PM
    ok guys we can cry about how bad the policy is adn how it violates our rights as students. And that we should protest but lets think about it. We should n't be late to class.I hate this policy, it is so annyoing but i accept it. "Lets riot for freedom", what freedom have we lost? THe right to do somethign aginst school rules, being late to class. Lets think about stuff before we compalin, because i myself disdian almsot all of the shcool policies but it is a life. ANyways the kids argeuing are not those who are actaully effected. TH kids argueing, protesting, or commenting are the ones who are lawys on time to class adn stare at their computers logn enough to post on silver chips online. I mean at least that is how it works for me
  • To: Eli Barnett on December 19, 2006 at 7:05 PM
    "We want you in class, so we are going to lock you out!"
    Perfectly stated!!
  • Henry Scher (View Email) on December 20, 2006 at 2:02 PM
    Electra: We're protesting the fact that even being a second late, which may be against school rules but has never really been punished by more than an unexcused tardy before, can cause us to lose more than a third of the class due to having to go down, and can cause us to lose an hour later on because of detention. We're protesting the fact that we can't use the passing period anymore because there's no longer enough time to talk to the teacher, go to the bathroom/water fountain, and come back. We're protesting because this was done without input from the students at all - even from the SGA.

    And I am one of those students. I usually use the passing period and a little more (because the teacher usually starts maybe 1 minute later) to get a drink of water, to use the bathroom, or whatever. I have been late to class by a few seconds before. I almost was locked out of my English class, except that I had a pass.
  • '08 rox on December 29, 2006 at 11:53 PM
    technically it is not double jeopardy. its kinda like the 3 strikes rule in california. they are just delaying the punishment until you accumulte many tardies. but the rest of the article is good.
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