Tardiness Ruining Schools

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Tardiness is a growing problem in American schools. “The U.S. Department of Education, in the latest available report, shows that tardiness is a moderate to a serious problem . . .” (Light, 2006) When students arrive late to class, not only do they miss out on instruction, but they interrupt their teacher and fellow students when they come into class late. The problem goes beyond interruptions and missing instruction. When students habitually show up late, it sends a message that school is not a priority for them. It shows irresponsibility and lack of respect. By allowing students to arrive late without consequences, students are being set up to fail once they enter the workplace where punctuality is a requirement.

Marymount International School Rome has a tardy policy that shares similarities with Hillsborough County Schools District. Both policies allow the student one free tardy. Both policies also have more serious consequences as the number of tardies grow. Another similarity is that tardy infractions are handled by the assistant principal. The similarities end there. Interestingly, MMI’s policy is quite a bit more specific than Hillsborough County, which is relatively general and left to the discretion of the assistant principal in regards to consequences.

MMI clearly differentiates between late to class and late to school. Students arriving late to school are given a certain number of excused tardies because of traffic, a major issue in Rome. Once a student arrives late to first period five times or late to any other periods two times, that student is assigned a morning detention by the assistant principal. The assistant principal checks period attendance for students marked tardy and assigns the tardy detention. In order for the punishment to fit the crime, so-to-speak, the detentions must be served before school begins. This in effect means students are to arrive to school 45 minutes before they would otherwise arrive. Once a student...
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