William Hutchinson 0

Against the SMHS Tardy and Lunch Policies

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Edit: The administration informed me the policies regarding kids not being able to bring food from home to lunch detention was not being enforced.

The tardy sweep policy as explained by a SMHS administrator will involve locking the doors to classrooms at the tardy bell before random and unspecified periods, and any student not in class will have to report to an administrator to receive a pass back to class and will be given lunch detention for the entire hour of the lunch most immediately following when the tardy was given. There are multiple issues with this policy. The first is that the standard punishment for one tardy to any class period is typically not a full one-hour lunch detention, but is simply a verbal warning. There is no true difference in a tardy earned in the traditional sense and a tardy earned during a tardy sweep, so the increased level of punishment is arbitrary and cruel. For many students the one hour of lunch represents the only chance to complete homework, get exercise, get tutoring, or socialize with friends. Additionally, many students who have elective class periods that involve using art materials, changing clothes, using lab materials, or playing an instrument until as soon as the dismissal bell rings and are forced to use part of their passing period to clean up or put away these things and as a result may have to dangerously and unnecessarily rush to their class to avoid being tardy, or face the severe punishments of a tardy sweep. The passing period has been repeatedly referred to as a student’s time to socialize and use the restroom between classes by many teachers and administrators, and removing or threatening that time from our day is a violation of our rights and health. Especially because our passing period has already been reduced from six minutes to five minutes for the 2017-2018 school year and many students already struggle to use the restroom or get a drink of water and still make it to class on time, this excessive punishment for a tardy is an overbearing policy. The final issue we have with this policy is that in the lunch detention period students will not be allowed to bring their own lunch from home to eat during this punishment time which spans the entirety of the lunch period. This restriction is ridiculous and tyrannical, and clearly discriminates against students with food allergies, religious dietary restrictions, nutrition issues, and voluntary diet choices, such as being vegan, vegetarian, or on a particular meal plan.

The new policy that lunch will not be served during the last ten minutes of the lunch period is without good reason and puts a huge burden on a student with an already busy lunch period. Many students have tutorials with teachers or practice for extracurricular activities for a substantial portion of the lunch period, and only have the last ten minutes to get food from the cafeteria and eat. Limiting out this period forces students to interrupt their work, studying, or practice to go wait in long lines for food which causes a loss of productivity for that time.

We believe that unless all these grievances can be adequately addressed these new policies should be abolished.

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