Senior Attendance: A look at its causes and consequences
BY OLIVIA GIL
Senior attendance has seen a rise in absences throughout the years and now, with in-person learning back in full swing, these absences have become increasingly apparent. From study halls to monthly senior skip days, CCHS students and staff attribute this upsurge of “un-excuses” to a number of different causes.
Some staff members believe that seniors choose to skip certain classes, because they feel that their attendance is unnecessary. Such as study hall or credit recovery classes, which require minimal, situational lecturing, if any at all.
“Everybody thinks that they don’t need to be here for study hall, that’s first,” course recovery, H.O.P.E. and senior study hall teacher Paul Megna said. “Second, they don’t come for credit recovery because they feel that they can just do it at home, because it’s online; so they don’t come.”
While some staff feel that the increase is caused by a perceived attendance in-necessity, students credit the cause to be graduation requirements.
“I’d have to say the main reason for senior absences would be that most seniors are already either done with their credits and don’t care anymore, or they simply have given up and couldn’t care less,” senior Julian Drada said.
Over the years, CCHS has attempted to cut back on tardies and absences by putting punishments in place for students who surpass a certain number. Such as detentions, in-school and out-of-school suspensions and even driver’s license suspensions. These measures, of course, always follow the phone calls, text messages and email notifications sent to guardians, concerning their student’s tardiness or absence.
“A punishment I know very well is called Saturday School. It is basically detention, but instead of happening after school, it’s from 9-11 on a Saturday morning,” Drada said. “I think Saturday Schools are useless and don’t do anything for someone that was a couple minutes late to school a few times.”
Although these methods have managed to deter many from skipping, some still feel that the school’s efforts are unnecessary and ineffective.
“My teachers don’t make it a big deal, and if they don’t get mad, then why should the school?” senior Alexis Crespo said. “I just think it’s stupid to punish us [for missing class] when we can just ask our teachers and friends for what we missed and not fall behind. It’s not a big enough issue to make us come to school on a Saturday to make up for it.”
Though Saturdays can be spent at school and parents can ignore as many absence and tardy notifications as are received; seniors must still keep their mandatory hours of instruction in mind, if they wish to remain in school. If enough school is missed, a student can be considered suspended for prolonged truancy.
But for some, the reward still outweighs the risk, as seniors often participate in student-appointed “Senior Skip Days,” indefinitely scheduled for the Fridays following Professional Study Days (PSD).
“I [can say that] anywhere from 30% to 50% of my kids are gone on those Fridays after [PSD],” Megna said.
Only time will tell if this increase in senior absences will result in a school-wide schedule change such as the one made during the 2020 – 2021 school year. Where PSD were turned into full-length days, so that the class of 2021 may graduate with a fulfilled number of instructional hours.