Coachella absentees to get detention

Jessica Lee

Students who choose to miss class this Friday to attend the Coachella Music Festival are being urged to be honest about the decision and accept the consequences, which would be a single detention.

In an email to parents sent during spring break, Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas said the school’s position was that honesty is important, and that students should learn that actions have consequences.

“We feel that among the most valuable lessons we teach is that choices have consequences,” Barzdukas said in the letter. “We ask that families who choose to have their children miss school to attend Coachella report the absence as ‘missing school to attend Coachella.’ We feel this policy is in keeping with our school’s commitment to good character and honor.”

“It’s unfair to teachers to have to prepare for a class where the majority of students will be absent,” Attendance Coordinator Gabe Preciado added.

The school chose to implement this policy in order to encourage students to adopt the right attitude and to develop character honesty, Preciado said.

“It’s a man-up policy,” Preciado said. “Students should admit that they’re going to Coachella and take responsibility for it.”

The school is targeting excessive absences, especially in seniors, Preciado said.

“We have a shortened schedule compared to other schools,” Preciado said. “The more our students miss class, the more work they have to catch up. Attendance and grades overlap.”

Dean meetings might be initiated to prevent unnecessary student absences, and it would not be surprising if seniors lost their off-campus privileges if their attendance record falls a high degree, Preciado said.

Barzdukas also emphasized the relationship between attendance and academic performance.

“I think that a typical day at Harvard-Westlake is as exciting, enlightening and inspiring as any day at Coachella,” Barzdukas said. “I wish that everyone came to school every day. School is not just what you get – it is also what you give. We are a better, more diverse and more well-rounded school when everyone attends.”