A line composed of exhausted-looking students crowds all available areas near the staff cafeteria, extending past the security table and well out the Pico gate. This is just a typical morning in the tardy pass line.
“It’s not working, and it’s not strong enough. It’s like going to a concert,” security guard Dunell “Mr. D” Smith said about Samo’s new tardy machine.
Students have also voiced their doubts about the machine.
“It ruins class time and it’s a total waste of money we could spend on things we actually need,” juniors Sara Margulies and Emma Keckin said.
One by one, students pile in, scan their IDs and receive a printed tardy slip. Sometimes this slip is paired with a surprise lunch detention notification.
Samo staff seems split on the new technology. Many teachers believe that it’s too slow a process and makes the students arrive to class even later.
“It’s too early to tell. We’re trying to make it very efficient,” Principal Dr. Hugo Pedroza said in response to the criticism. “When everybody is here on time, we get paid by attendance. As far as expensive, that’s a relative term. This is here to stay.”
M-House Outreach Specialist, Jeffrey Keller prefers the new machine to the old practices.
“I think it works and saves a lot of work for a lot of people,” he said.
Activists for the new tardy machine seek reason in the fact that labor work and cost would be cut in half.
“Doing it by hand was infinitely longer,” Semik said. “I think it was money well-spent; less kids can fall through. Today, we scanned 203 kids for tardies.”
The new electronic tardy machine was introduced by O-House principal Clara Herran, who found the machine so efficient at her previous high school that she proposed it to the Samo administration. As for the cost, “the computers came from a separate budget” Semik said. The money would not have otherwise gone to textbooks, class computers or other such materials.
“The policy was created with everyone’s best interests in mind. The machines are good additions –– they suit us well.” Semik said.
The one thing everyone does agree on is that the best solution to avoiding the tardy policy and machines is to be on time.
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