There’s no denying it—we have a tardiness problem.

In a recent Octagon poll, 77 percent of students admitted to being late to their first class at least once a week (see story, page 2).

Yet few of those infractions are recorded, meaning chronic tardiness often goes unpunished.

Now don’t get us wrong, we love not suffering lunch detentions. But the system is certainly flawed.

One complaint that many students have is that they don’t actually know when they’re marked tardy.

Different teachers have different policies: some indiscriminately mark students late after 8:20; some wait until they start teaching; and others are apathetic.

It’s great that teachers are free to have their own rules, but it would be beneficial for students if their rules were made clear—or, even better, if teachers simply told their students when they are marked tardy.

Obviously, it’s not necessary to point it out if a student is half an hour late, but the border between “on time” and “tardy” can be blurred even 10 minutes into the class period.

It isn’t very difficult for a teacher to say “Tardy!” when a student strolls in after class has begun, but an email or comment after class could work as well and not disrupt the lesson.

It would also be helpful if students were emailed when they are close to getting detentions—that way they wouldn’t be surprised and might be more inclined to improve their behavior.

During classes in the middle of the day, teachers tend to be even less strict about marking students tardy. This makes sense, since there is no passing period and students are often let out of classes late, but it can be remedied.

Teachers should not continue lecturing past the bell

or begin a new topic at 2:39 when the next class begins at 2:40. This habit just causes the next class to run late as well.

And on top of that, maybe teachers should be more strict during periods immediately after breaks. That would prevent the trend of starting and finishing classes five minutes after the bell.

Perhaps it would be better to have a brief passing period between classes, so it would be entirely the student’s responsibility to be on time and the teachers would not have to be subjective in their policies.

However, an official, lengthy passing period could just be counterproductive because it would further encourage students to dawdle between classes.

And, of course, the ultimate solution to the tardiness issue is for students to just show up to class on time— but that may be a losing battle.

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