The senior attendance policy, which allowed seniors a maximum of 120 missed periods in order to participate in graduation, was recently abolished, according to S-House Principal Jason Kurtenbach.
The old policy stated that “seniors are allowed a total of 20 days of absence, or 120 periods, during the school year.” According to Kurtenbach, the rule was discarded because there was no real support for it in any other Samo or district polices.
“The rule could not be supported by Ed-code and there wasn’t a board policy that supported it,” Kurtenbach said. “However, there are some high schools near us in some districts that have a graduation policy based on attendance, where a certain percent of periods need to be attended in each class in order for you to earn credit.”
However, some people on campus disagree with the policy change.
“I think in general a reasonable expectation for passing a class is attendance, and so to have some attendance requirement to pass a class is a very logical thing,” math teacher Pat Dunn said. “There are many college courses that you get dropped from after a certain number of absences regardless of your preference to them. I can see the merit for an attendance requirement for classes.”
Kurtenbach also said that without the rule seniors could theoretically miss more than 120 periods of school as long as they maintain passing grades.
“I would be surprised if you could miss that many periods. If you did I think I would have questions for you as well as the instructor,” Kurtenbach said. “If you’re not coming to school, you’re not doing the work and you’re not failing then we have a problem, and it’s both the student, the teacher and the administration’s problem.”
However according to I-House adviser Jessica Garrido, this does not mean that attendance is less important at Samo without the rule.
“Students are still required to get a readmit after an absence, and if it is an excused absence they can go back to class, but if it is an unexcused absence teachers do not have to give them make up work.”
Garrido went on to say that the attendance system will still keep track of students who have been absent for long periods of time.
“Teachers are also supposed to notify a student’s adviser if the student is absent for more then five days of school. If students have 18 unexcused periods they get an attendance letter and after the second letter we are supposed to schedule a meeting to have an attendance conference with the family,” Garrido said. “If the issue does not stop the student can get SARBed, which is the Student Attendance Review Board, and that’s a district situation and the student can either get put on attendance contract, get a truancy ticket, or be referred to the district attorney.”
Garrido also added that students with excused absences do not have to worry about these disciplinary issues.
I-House Principal Renée Semik feels that most students will not change their behavior without the rule.
“There are some students that are going to abuse it and then be frustrated when they don’t pass their classes,” Semik said.