School to excuse Coachella absences with parents’ assent

By Ingrid Chang

Last year more than 70 students were given detentions for unexcused absences on the Friday of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. This year the administration is taking a more flexible stance on absences on the Friday of the three-day festival, which runs from April 15-17 as long as students are honest about their reasons for leaving.

Students will be excused on the condition that they fill out a green attendance sheet and get it signed by all of their teachers.

“Last year students were punished because they were not being honest about it,” Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said.

“They would say they were sick but the teachers would hear later that they weren’t sick, they were at Coachella. It’s not a good way to be working with your teachers.”

Salamandra encourages students to tell their teachers the real reason for missing school, and excuses for absences will be dealt with accordingly.

“It depends on how the students deal with the situation,” Salamandra said.

“Especially if you’ve proven that you’ve been working hard all year, I think they need to look at their relationships with their teachers and see if this is something that is worth approaching their teachers about.”

If students were to be excused for the day, they would be expected to make up any work that they missed on their own. In previous years students were given zeros on missed tests or assignments that were given on that day.

In recent years, missing a day of school or missing classes for Coachella was not considered an excused absence, which resulted in detentions for many students. Previously students were able to fill out green forms to be excused for that day, but with a growing number of students leaving school, the administration stopped excusing absences for students to attend the music festival.

“The question is now whether we want to keep it like that or consider it as an excused absence if they provide the proper paperwork,” Attendance Coordinator Gabriel Preciado said.

“We’re willing to work with the students. You and your parents decide what’s important and we want to respect that,” Salamandra said. “I hope that people wouldn’t take advantage of the mutual respect we have between students, parents and the teachers at school.”