Tardy sweeps clean up selfish students


Photo by Elany Zavala

School officials implemented tardy sweeps in April and May. They will probably continue in the fall.

We’ve all felt it—that annoyance at the beginning of 5th period. You skipped going to Clyde’s for lunch because you know that if you ordered the chicken and waffles then you wouldn’t be back for class on time. So there you are starving or still chewing the cafeteria chicken and, like, five people come in 20 minutes late with Venti Strawberry Acai Refreshers from Starbucks and Oreo McFlurries from McDonald’s.

Yes, one in each hand.

It’s rude, and it’s unfair, and on April 25 the administration got fed up enough with the disrespect that they took the respect broom out of the discipline closet and went for a clean tardy sweep. Late students got locked out of their classrooms and issued detention or even Saturday School if the student’s attendance record warranted.

Then in May we got three more brisk sweeps.

For students who are chronically late, the tardy sweep worked. Students ran to class when the 1812 Overture played on the school’s speakers.

There were students in their seats before the bell rang. 

Still, despite its seeming success, some students who would’ve been bystanders on another day were caught in the sweep. You can’t fight fate or bad luck or whatever, but things could still be fairer.

The Tribune encourages school officials to develop a policy that allows some students caught in a tardy sweep to receive just a warning. Administrators also need to make it extra clear how many detentions for tardies you have before you accrue Saturday Schools. 

I was skeptical when I heard about tardy sweeps. It sounded strict and scary. After talking to assistant principal Leticia Gonzalez, though, I realized that the administration is really trying to help. Gonzalez said that the goal of the sweeps was to gather information not punish students. Instead of just disciplining students, earlier in the year she provided some frequently tardy students with bus passes and helped often tardy seniors replace their first period classes with sixth period classes.

Teachers don’t have easy fixes to the tardy problem. They think that it’s disrespectful when students choose to show up late, but they don’t want to harass students when they might be legitimately struggling. Sometimes whether or not you can get to school on time is out of your control, you know?

My history teacher learned that his zero period students could, in fact, show up on time. He said that the week after administration did a tardy sweep everyone miraculously arrived to class on time.

We students need to realize that the administrators and our teachers have been pretty accommodating, really. Sure, some students might have legitimate reasons for being late to zero or first period, but do you really have a good excuse for being consistently late to second period or fourth period? C’mon. If you’re walking around the whole school before going to class to make sure your girlfriend, boyfriend, or friends are safely arriving to their classes, trust me: they’ll live if they don’t see you until lunch.

Honestly, the group most pessimistic about tardy sweeps were teachers. They lack faith in the administration’s followthrough, one saying, “Yeah, let’s see how long they’ll do this.” Another told their class, “No. I don’t think tardy sweeps will work.” I get it. Teachers don’t want to get their hopes up that detentions and Saturday Schools for tardy students will change them into prompt, polite human beings from the Clyde’s-eating, Refresher-drinking and McFlurry-scooping delinquents they currently are.

But I’m still hopeful.

Feature editor Mackenzie Mauldin contributed to this column.