Basha High School parents are still upset about the school’s new, stricter tardy policy, but teachers and administrators say it’s working well and has minimized classroom disruption.
About a dozen parents and teachers clashed Tuesday night at the school’s Site Management Team meeting, which was moved to the cafeteria in expectation of a large crowd. The purpose of the meeting was to make recommendations to the principal about school policy.
The policy allows teachers to require students to attend four-hour Saturday school if they are tardy to class. It’s up to the discretion of the teacher to assign the Saturday school.
Parents said the policy is too strict, unreasonable and puts too much stress on their kids.
Teachers said their students are now sitting in their seats when the bell rings, and don’t have the disruption of tardies anymore.
Brook McCleve, who has three kids at Basha, said she understands the challenges, but the new policy doesn’t allow for a grace period.
“There’s no room for error,” McCleve said.
Mom Pamela Smith said she wants a more agreeable policy.
“I think it’s way too strict,” Smith said. “We have all these construction issues with the widening of Val Vista Drive, and the tardy policy is not consistent with all teachers.”
Chemistry and physics teacher Barbara Barcus said since the policy was instituted, she hasn’t had any tardies in her class.
“The kid’s job is to be at school on time,” Barcus said. “I think the policy is fair.”
Carol Miller, who works in the attendance office, said she now sees kids hurrying between classes.
“I know it’s very strict, but I do see a big difference on campus,” Miller said.
Principal Kristine Marchiando, who attended the meeting, said she has no plans to change the policy. She said the policy was changed because students were taking advantage of last year’s rule that allowed three tardies before a student would have to attend Saturday school. Excessive tardiness was the number one concern among teachers who responded to a survey.
“The goal is to take student social time and not take their class time,” Marchiando said.
At the beginning of the school year, students received a two-week warning period before Saturday school was assigned for tardies. The first week of Saturday school had 40 students, then 90 students, and then back down to 40 students, Marchiando said.