Don't excuse Coachella absences

By Judd Liebman

For the second consecutive year, the administration excused Coachella-related absences. At first, I was furious that the teachers and deans would accept such a ridiculous excuse for missing school. Not only did it have the potential to wreck classes by having so few students in class, but it also went against the attendance guidelines that I thought were taken so seriously.

I thought the rules were simple. You come to class every day, every period unless you are sick or have a legitimate excuse corroborated by your parents. Seniors are excused for three days to make college visits, but must fill out a green extended absence form before leaving. These green sheets are also used to excuse students from class for what I thought had to be valid reasons approved by teachers. Legitimate excuses include doctors’ appointments and sickness.

Turns out, our attendance policy is more simple than I thought: come to class unless your parents sign off on you missing, no matter the excuse. Want to go to a Dodger game? Get permission from your parents and you can go. College baseball game? No problem, all you need is a signature. Want to sleep in? Go for it, just make sure your parents write you a note. Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said only your parents can dictate where you need to be every day, not the school.

This program is a terrible excuse for an attendance policy. We’re in high school to learn, but right now, this policy teaches us to have our parents bail us out. We do not need to be held accountable for our actions, as our parents can always just write off a ditch day.

Head of Attendance Gabriel Preciado does a great job of keeping track of every student, every period. Lying to him is disrespectful. Turning in bogus excuses, I think, is equally rude. If you really think you have a reason to miss school, take the detention that comes.

I’ve had days where I think I can’t come to school. If I’m overtired, I’ll rally the best I can. If I’m actually feeling ill, a sick day is warranted. That said, we shouldn’t abuse our extremely lenient policy.

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