By: Rafeea Tamboli and Megan Leung
During the grade-wide assemblies hosted in early September, the administration met with each grade to go over the myriad of changing policies at North. They stressed the attendance policy which states that students can only miss 14 hours of instruction per class before losing credit. The part that confused much of the student population was that the 14 days included both excused and unexcused absences.
Students also felt that the attendance policy discourages individuals from attending activities that require them to miss school. “I’m a competitive dancer, and I travel a lot. Because I travel, I have to miss days of school. I’m a good student. I stay on top of my work. I go to my teachers. I get the work. I keep my good grades. So, if I miss more than 14 days, because of unexcused or excused absences, and I have to re-do a course… That’s not fair.” said senior Megan Accetta.
However, administration has a different view. “If you get to 14 [absences], what we simply need to do is touch base with whoever your assistant principal is and you basically go out and say [the reason for your absence]. So there is no really major reason that people should be afraid or upset even really about the attendance policy. It’s always existed, but I don’t think that we have communicated effectively enough in the past to where students really understood it,” Dauber said.
Another major change to High School North was the senior lunch scanners. Similar to the attendance method for study hall, seniors are required to scan out of the building at the glass doors between the Lower Dining Hall and gym before going out to lunch.
“Even though it seems like a small thing, . . . it takes people a long time to get out, and when you only have 40 minutes to be back in the building, it makes it really hard because then, like, you end up wasting like, up to five minutes,” senior Sanjana Satish recounts about her experience with the policy thus far.
The administration instituted the policy to prioritize students’ safety. “In the end, I’m responsible for every one of you, every student that attends this school . . . the idea behind scanning allows us to understand who is physically in the building, and who is physically not in the building. . . I need to know where all of our kids are,” explained Dauber. He stressed that the policy is not permanent: “everything [the administration does] on a day to day basis is a work in progress . . . nothing is etched in stone. . . . we can find ways to make things more efficient.”
Though the previous change mostly affects the senior class, all students have had to adjust to the new library pass policy. In previous years, students who intended on going to the library scanned in, grabbed the small paper pass, and then left for the library any time during their study hall period. A major flaw in the old policy was that students often got away with sneaking into the library without a pass or hoarding multiple passes until they were needed. To address these issues, this year’s passes are larger, laminated, change colors more often, and have numbers printed on the front. When students arrive in the library, they have to sign-in next to the number that corresponds to their pass on a sheet.
However, if you have a pass, you can only enter the library during the first 15 minutes of study hall. Librarian Michael Courtney said, “ [We are] trying to keep better track of where everybody’s at. . . we’re really responsible for students that are in our classes.” Most of the policy has been widely accepted by the student body but many were confused about the time constraint.