By Makalie Farmer

            Students returned from fall break on Dec. 2 to information about a new tardy policy implemented by administrators to increase the accuracy of attendance and cut down on rest room misbehaviors during passing periods.

            “I’ve been doing this for 30 years and the one minute bell would ring and people would still move slowly,” assistant principal Patricia Anderson said. “Now they hear the minute bell and they start moving quickly.”

            When students are late they now must report to the front office before first and fifth periods. When they get there, they have to fill out a pink slip stating where they were at and why they were late. One of the reasons why this policy was enforced was to cut down on the amount of students hiding out in the bathrooms.

            “I was really concerned about what I was hearing about the restrooms,” Principal Michael Garcia said.  “With all the things that are happening in our nation, I want to attempt to eliminate any opportunity of that kind of stuff.”

            As part of the policy, the bathrooms are being locked during certain time periods throughout the day. A team of administration is responsible for getting all of the bathrooms on campus locked and unlocked on time. This is to encourage students to learn how to manage their time wisely.

            “It has already worked to boost attendance,”  attendance clerk Adelia Martin said. “Yesterday we had 112 kids that needed a pass, today we only had 80.”

There are multiple staff members who have to keep up with the whereabouts of 2,094 students, starting with teachers. It is the teachers job to mark students tardy, or make students go get a pass. However, the attendance clerks have to keep track of all of the students coming on or going off campus throughout the day. All of the tardies and absences are marked and recorded in TEAMS and RAPTOR, a special program designed to help the attendance clerks.

 “Tardiness really impacts the accuracy of our attendance,” Garcia said. “Attendance is critical to us because our funding is based upon our numbers.”

Schools receive money for attendance for each student. In Texas, schools spend $10,456 per student.

“It really comes down to teachers,” Teacher Laurie Harris said. “If teachers were consistent with how they’re marking tardies and if there were actual consequences with the admin for tardies, then I think it would be effective.”