Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
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Jan. 11, 2007

SGA and administration reach agreement over lock-out policy

by Josie Callahan, Online Features Editor and Copy Editor
SGA president Eric Hysen and the administration have reached an agreement over the lock-out policy this morning. The SGA will not appeal to the Superintendent's Office in favor of revisions to the lock-out policy and more inclusion in decision-making.

The agreement comes after the SGA's appeal to Principal Phillip Gainous was rejected. Instead of appealing Gainous's decision to the Superintendent's Office, the SGA will have other options with the administration's support. In accordance to the agreement reached today between Hysen and administrator James Short, the administration has agreed to work with the SGA to create a formal version of the hallway policy. The formal version will include a process for students to appeal detentions, and it will be distributed to the entire student body. Also, the administration will collaborate with the SGA to create formal procedures for the administration to hear student input in school decisions affecting students before those decisions are made.

According to Hysen, copies of the changes in the policy will be distributed to students in the next few weeks. The revisions to the lock-out policy will go into effect immediately.

Under the revised lock-out policy, students may attend academic support with a teacher at their lunch instead of serving detention. Students must have their teacher sign the detention slip, and the students are responsible for dropping the slips off in their administrator's office.

If a student feels that he or she was late for a valid reason or was unfairly given a detention, the student may meet with his or her administrator, who may agree to reverse the detention.

Gainous designated Short and Business Manager James Funk to revisit the lock-out policy, because of their involvement in implementing the original policy in the freshmen hallways at the beginning of the school year. According to Hysen, he will work with Short and Funk to examine other potential consequences for lateness, as well as devising a formal appeals process for detentions or suspensions in the next few weeks.

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  • senior on January 11, 2007 at 7:23 PM
    finally; this policy is good except for the part where "students may attend academic support with a teacher at their lunch instead of serving detention." That part is weird due to the fact the now it stereotypes those late students as students who are failing classes or are not doing well. otherwise it's good so far.
  • The Pooka on January 11, 2007 at 7:51 PM
    Alright, so Hysen's actually doing something. Great for him.

    Unfortunately for the rest of us, he isn't attacking the root of the problem: the policy itself. Yes, we have a problem with tardies, but the current policy is nonsensical, even if it were correctly enforced. I know several people (myself among them) who have been able to walk to class late without seeing even one administrator. Besides, locking students out causes more disruptions than just letting them come in late would.

    This is just yet another example of how our administration just loves to listen to students' opinions.
  • Good job on January 11, 2007 at 8:25 PM
    Once again, congratulations to Eric for sticking up for the students and successfully dealing with the administration in a competent and professional manner.
  • never late (View Email) on January 11, 2007 at 8:41 PM
    Sounds good.....but who decides what a "valid reason" is to be late?
  • nice work on January 11, 2007 at 8:58 PM
    good job Eric. Better than just being straight up rejected.
  • yay hysen on January 11, 2007 at 9:02 PM
    good job eric for making this bad policy just the slightest bit better.
  • Eric Hysen (View Email) on January 11, 2007 at 9:14 PM
    Re: The Pooka
    You're right that the one change we've already announced does not address the core problem with the policy. However, there are additional changes coming. While I can't comment on any details yet, I believe that what SGA will be working out with Mr. Short and Mr. Funk will address the concerns you raised.

    Eric Hysen
  • Someone you may know on January 11, 2007 at 11:10 PM
    Does the academic support with a teacher have to be for the teacher who's class you were late to or just any teacher?

    And good job Hysen and the rest of the SGA! Keep up the good work! This is the first time in a very long time that I have seen the SGA actually accomplish something.

    To senior:
    It does not necessary one is failing a class if they go to academic support. The academic support reason can be so that you have a chance to make up something you may have missed due to your tardiness without having to serve detention as well.
  • What?? on January 12, 2007 at 9:14 AM
    I don't get we can appeal the detention but it has to be in front of the student body?? do you really think the students will do that just for a detention?? but I do like the academic support instead of the detention thing...that's a really good idea!!
  • -.- on January 12, 2007 at 4:52 PM
    ok, joy, no detention

    but that's not the problem-- why lock us out?

    just tell the teachers to get stricter and give detentions more

    ever think of the severe emotional trauma a student can get from being locked out? i mean you're outside, the security guards aren't particularly nice, and the teacher's giving you mean looks, and the rest of your class is looking at you while you just have that hopeless look on your face

    sounds very pleasant
    and then when you come back, everyone stares while you walk in with the slip, and everyone knows what a horrible student you are, getting detention and stuff

    even if you end up not needing to go to detention, what can you do? make a speech and say, hey everyone! my detention slip got reversed! i'm not a juvenile delinquent!

    um no...
  • Blazer on January 12, 2007 at 5:40 PM
    To What??:
    "The formal version will include a process for students to appeal detentions, and it will be distributed to the entire student body...If a student feels that he or she was late for a valid reason or was unfairly given a detention, the student may meet with his or her administrator, who may agree to reverse the detention."

    As I understand it from the article, the person just talks to their administrator if they feel their detention was unfair. The policy will be written on paper and THAT will be distributed to the entire student body.
  • Mr. West (View Email) on January 13, 2007 at 6:06 AM
    This is a teacher here. For years students have called me "Pressed West" in part because I try to consistently enforce the attendance policy. I try to have my classroom ready and open before the late bell rings and allow one free tardy/hall pass a semester. I mark students tardy if they arrive without excuse after the bell rings. I also count 3 unexcused tardies as an unexcused absence and follow the MCPS Loss of Credit Policy. I probably LC as many students as any teacher (though teachers do not earn prizes for each LC). As soon as possible after unexcused absence number 5, I hand the student the green LC appeal Petition of Appeal and he/she signs it with me and we shake hands on it. Most students who I LC improve their attendance and live up the the terms of the Petition. They earn their credit back. I honestly believe that consistent enforcement of this policy is effective in promoting better attendance. Parent contact can help also. Ms. Fus's diligently and intelligent work has helped Blair students, parents, and staff immensely. Having said how "pressed" I am, I was skeptical when I heard the announcement before the beginning of the present "lock out" policy. Several teachers and security expressed concern that we were not consulted. Some of us recalled a similar policy "old" that ended quickly. Students flooded the system not just by earning detentions, but refusing to go to detention. Soon they exceeded the capacity administrators can handle. I was pleasantly shocked that more students seemed to get to class on time when the new lock out policy began. I applaud Eric's advocacy for students. For some reason, too few people seem to know two policies that probably are not in the planbook: 1) for more than ten years Blair administrators have promoted academic support as a substitute for detention. 2) some teachers offer students who are tardy and in danger of losing credit to forgive a tardy for students who come to academic support. Is this in the planbook anywhere? I want to disagree with the anonymous student who wrote that good students cannot benefit from academic support. In academic support good students can help other students. I love Silver Chips online. However, to be taken more seriously why not post comments using your OWN name?
  • dude on January 13, 2007 at 6:30 PM
    to -.-

    If you suffer emotional trauma from being locked out of class

    I think you might need some help
  • Libertarian (View Email) on January 14, 2007 at 2:58 AM
    Mr. West, I agree with pretty much everything you say here (of course what's the point of an LC if you just immediately give them the appeal sheet?). I take issue with this statement.

    "I love Silver Chips online. However, to be taken more seriously why not post comments using your OWN name?"

    Which do you care about, the ideas presented or the person presenting them? Do you need the name so you can stereotype them as just a Freshman, a stuck-up rich magnet or CAP kid? I use a consistent name here (of course there's nothing to stop someone else from just putting my name on top of their post), but what would you gain from people having their real names there? A few people choose to use their real name, but anonymous commenting is one of the features of silver chips online that gives it as many people as it did. I guarantee if they got rid of anonymous commenting at least 80% of the people wouldn't comment anymore.

    But on the topic of this actual article, I think the new policy is acceptable, I especially like the academic support substitute for detention. Now it's an extremely reasonable policy. Of course in true form the administration has budged just enough to stop the mass protests but kept some of the things people complained about. Be ready for some more complaining on SCO and possibly another administrative revision of the new policy. That's just the way things go here at Blair.
  • ....... on January 15, 2007 at 9:52 PM
    late policy, they still enforce that?? I have maybe one teacher who cares, also this policy is more disruptive because people come to the door and the teacher has to deal with them. Instead of being allowed to quietly go to their desk they are forced to argue with the teacher to let them in without detention.
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