Senior tardiness and absenteeism put senior privileges at risk

By Christopher Poz, Profiles/Features Editor

Shortly before the Christmas break began, the senior class was reminded  of Verbum Dei High School policies that could result in the revocation of their senior privileges.

The policies are as follows:

Prom: Have no more than 10 absences or 10 tardies in any one class per semester. No serious or chronic disciplinary problems during the school year and/or 30 or more demerits. No truancy from school or work throughout the year. No unexcused absence from school or work. No termination from CWSP job placement. G.P.A. above 2.0. No more than one violation of academic integrity. No behavior or academic probation.

Grad Night: Have no more than 10 absences or 10 tardies in any one class per semester. No truancy from school or work throughout the year. No serious or chronic disciplinary problems during the school year. No more than 30 demerits. No termination from CWSP job placement. No more than once incident of academic integrity. Lastly, student must meet all academic graduation requirements. G.P.A. above 2.0. No more than one incident of academic integrity. No behavior or academic probation.

The policies have long been in place; however, not many students were aware of them.

“I know that seniors are surprised when they hear about it the first time because it happened last year as well and the year before that,” said Maria McDonald, Dean of Students and Academics.

“Fourteen seniors have lost their privileges – all but three were due to tardies in excess of 10 in the first semester,” said McDonald.

Seniors have the option to appeal the decision and save their privileges.

“There is the opportunity to appeal the decision, and that goes directly to Dr. Odom,” said McDonald.  “She [Odom] made it very clear that you can’t keep doing the same thing and then come to her in May and say you want to go to prom.”  McDonald said seniors, particularly those with poor attendance history, should be consistent in their second semester attendance and punctuality.

As might be expected, some seniors have expressed strong feelings about the loss of privileges.

“Losing senior privileges over being only a couple minutes late every day is unreasonable,” said senior Omar Garcia. “A privilege is something that is earned over a period of time.  After almost four years at Verbum Dei, working extremely hard and being determined and focused on my studies [is what should earn the] privilege.”

“Taking away senior privileges over being tardy is unfair, especially when the majority of the time, it is not one’s fault,” said a senior who wished to remain anonymous and was warned about excessive tardiness.  “Some consequence should be put in place, but not something that seniors worked hard for [to earn] over four years.”

The end of the year is approaching, and those seniors who are personally affected by this policy have to start coming to school consistently and on time to have a chance for a favorable appeal, said McDonald.

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