Should the LC policy be abolished?

Oct. 2, 2003, midnight | By Samir Paul | 17 years, 1 month ago

Samir Paul says NO: Loss of Credit prevents truancy

"Sometimes you just want to catch up with friends," sophomore Janaye Lamadine suggests. "Or maybe you have a boring fifth period teacher or class." Regardless of the reason, skipping class is anything but a serious offense to most students. However, attendance is indicative of a student's dedication to schoolwork. Administrators are required by law to stop skipping. The LC policy is an effective tool used to ensure good attendance and, in the process, a better education.

The LC policy successfully deters cutting class. According to an informal Silver Chips survey of 100 students conducted on Sept 3, 63 percent would skip class more often if the LC policy were abolished or relaxed. With most students ready to skip class already, the policy must remain at the status quo in order to keep students in their seats.

Even for those who achieve high marks, attendance should still be mandatory. Regardless of a student's grade, classroom activities allow students to gain a deeper understanding of the subject, one that is difficult to obtain without direct participation.

Additionally, the LC policy is necessary in order to uphold loco parentis (in place of the parent), under which administrators are responsible for keeping students from participating in activities that would not be approved by their parents. An absence unaccompanied by a note or excuse means that such an absence is forbidden under in loco parentis.

While some may criticize the appeals process, the paperwork is well worth the effort because it provides incentive to continue attending class after losing credit. MCPS policy allows students to petition for a reinstatement of credit. Improvement in effort and attendance would almost certainly result in restoration of credit, according to NSL teacher Marc Grossman. After losing credit, he explains, a student has the opportunity to write attendance and homework contracts that, if upheld, ensure a reinstatement of credit. The possibility for student improvement justifies the paperwork in the process.

Proposed revisions, such as a flat number of absences, excused or unexcused, leading to a failure in a class, limit paperwork to a certain degree but are not free from their own pitfalls. Under this kind of policy, students with legitimate excuses would be equivalent to those who cut class regularly. The possibility of filing appeals in order to judge the validity of a student's absence could be the saving grace; however, this provision resurrects the paperwork that plagues the current policy.

The LC policy is a deterrent for skipping class, forcing students who choose to play hooky on a regular basis to either reform their sloppy attendance habits or face a daunting "E-2" on their report cards. MCPS must maintain its current policy or risk introducing an epidemic of truancy that would bring about a failure in the school system and its goals.

Samir Paul. <b>Samir Paul</b>, a Magnet senior, spent the better part of his junior year at Blair brooding over everyone's favorite high-school publication and wooing Room 165's menopausal printer. He prides himself in being <i>THE</i> largest member of Blair Cross Country and looks forward to one more … More »

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