Seniors to face no consequences for skipping class Coachella Friday

Due to joint planning between Prefect Council and the school, seniors will not be punished for missing class April 12, which is both “Coachella Friday” and this year’s Senior Skip Day, Head of Upper School Laura Ross announced in an email to parents April 9.

“This year, seniors who choose to not come to school on Friday – whether they choose to stay home and sleep, hang out with friends here in [Los Angeles] or elsewhere or attend the festival – will still be responsible for any work missed on that day but will not face a detention as a consequence,” Ross said in the email.

In previous years, students who missed school Friday to attend the entire first weekend of the annual Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival received detention.  The school-sanctioned Senior Skip Day traditionally does not coincide with the festival, Ross said.

This year, however, Head Prefects Kevin Chen ’19 and Ryan Stanford ’19 coordinated Senior Skip Day with Coachella Friday.

“Our intention was to benefit both the faculty and the students,” Stanford said.  “By having an ‘organized’ ditch day, fewer students would miss other days that could also have been designated ditch days, and we hoped that it would make moving assessments and having sufficient attendance more manageable for teachers. Also, we know that a lot of kids wanted this Friday off, whether for Coachella or another reason, and [Ross] was generous enough to suggest that seniors be allowed to miss school without being given detention.”

Students have also expressed support for the new policy.

“I am very happy that I will be able to go to the festival without suffering consequences with this year’s new policy,” Sydney Pizer ’19 said.  “I did not attend Coachella last year, but I had heard rather early on about the plans to allow seniors to miss this day this year, which was definitely a relief. I think seniors, regardless of whether they are going to Coachella or not, will enjoy this extra break.”

Despite the new policy implemented for seniors, sophomores and juniors who skip school for the festival will face consequences. In addition to completing the work they miss, students will also be subject to detention.

Ross also acknowledged that parents may aid their children in avoiding detention, but encouraged them to remain cognizant of the effects of their own actions.

“We recognize, of course, that parents could choose to not be honest with us about the reason their child is missing school that day and could thus avoid the detention for their child,” Ross said in the email.  “We hope, however, that if you make the decision to allow your student to attend Coachella that you help to model for your child that decisions have consequences and that transparency and honesty are the best guidelines to live by.”

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