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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

School announces new Coachella policy

Hannah Shahidi/Chronicle
Prefect Council announced the new policy regarding absences on the weekends of Coachella Music Festival. Students can either miss the Friday or Monday of the weekend as an excused absence.

The school is enforcing a new attendance policy proposed by Prefect Council during the weekends of Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on April 12 to 14 and April 19 to 21. The new policy will allow students to miss one day of school for the festival, according to an email sent from Prefect Council on April 1.

Students will be able to miss either Friday or Monday of the festival weekend and will be expected to make up any work missed. Absence on both days will result in a loss of student privileges which include being able to arrive to school before a student’s first class of the day and to leave campus after their last class. Additionally, seniors who skip both days will not be able to go off campus for lunch. Head of Upper School Beth Slattery said the policy was created to consider students’ interests and minimize dishonesty regarding matters of attendance.

“We considered the fact that many students choose to go to Coachella, but will often lie about it,” Slattery said. “I don’t want students and parents to lie about absences, [as] I believe that students should be allowed to miss school on occasion for things that matter to them. For kids who are not absent frequently, one day is no big deal. The real problem is kids who miss a lot of school also wanting to go to Coachella or do Senior Ditch Day. That’s an abuse of the attendance policy and will have more significant consequences.”

Last year, the school scheduled Senior Ditch Day on the same day as the Coachella weekend but caused confusion later on when seniors wanted to have their own ditch day. The goal is to prevent similar issues this year. Head Prefect and Print Managing Editor Davis Marks ’24 said the policy will be helpful for both students and teachers.

“Coachella is a popular event that students enjoy attending every year, so Prefect Council wanted to collaborate with the administration to find a compromise that would respect teachers while allowing students who want to attend the festival to do so without fear of punishment,” Marks said. “It’s disrespectful to teachers to miss two days of class for a musical festival, so we hope that by extending this opportunity to students to miss one day of school, people will want to respect the effort being made to accommodate everyone’s interests.”

Sophie Shabani ’24, who will be attending Coachella, said she is appreciative of the new policy.

“It’s cool that the school is giving us the freedom to go to Coachella,” Shabani said. “I think the policy is fair, and it won’t be too hard to adhere to [it].”

Ivan*, who will be attending the event, said some students, especially seniors, are likely to abuse the policy despite having their student privileges revoked.

“Although the policy alleviates a little bit of stress for me, kids will do whatever they want to in regard to missing school,” Ivan said. “They do lose a week of going off campus, but that might be worth it to them. The only thing that would change the plans is parents’ views of the policy, [but] I find that for parents of second-semester seniors, it’s not easy to make them care if the student doesn’t.”

Zoe Vourgourakis ’26 said she believes the policy will encourage students to take more unnecessary absences.

“I don’t think Coachella is an adequate excuse for missing school because it doesn’t relate to any kind of necessity, whether emotional or physical,” Vourgourakis said. “Although there are many social aspects tied to it, at its core it’s simply a source of entertainment, which to me doesn’t warrant any erasure of punishment. By implementing this policy, the school further smudges the already blurred line of adequacy regarding absences, which I think will only get worse with future reforms.”

*name has been changed

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