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Tardiness in the fast lane

By Donna Bianco
Posted Tuesday, December 12, 2006

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Pittsboro, NC - My child is just finishing up college and did not attend schools in NC, but by hosting a high school senior, foreign exchange student from Italy, I have become witness to a very dangerous phenomon while driving him to Northwood in the morning.

There is a policy at Northwood that if a child is late; one second, one minute, one hour, he/she is to sit in a "Chill Out" room at Northwood for the duration of the first period class which is 1 hour and 30 minutes. This has caused me to witness incredibly hazardous driving by students attending Northwood to beat that 8:00 bell.

One day there is going to be a terrible accident

We have been late approximately 5 times this year, for various reasons, and have cut it close a number of times. To date, he has missed a total of one full day of school sitting in the Chill Out room . Now this is not my biggest concern because he is a bright boy and will do fine. But one day there is going to be a terrible accident because of these inexperienced student drivers flying into Northwood to beat that bell! When we are traveling down new 64 and a car comes whizzing past us, we know that it is a student from Northwood trying to beat the bell.

I personally have already, (third day of school this year) been hit in the rear by a student driver as I was LEAVING Northwood on a rainy afternoon. So we all know how inexperienced these kids are and to put an added pressure on them to be severely punished by missing an entire class because of seconds of time, is not in the best interest of the student, their families or the school.

Someone is going to get themselves killed

I have heard that Horton has the same policy, but there are few, if any, student drivers at Horton so it may be better suited for that school, although missing a large chunk of education because of tardiness still doesn't make sense to me. Someone is going to get themselves killed and there will be no one to blame except the admistration at Northwood. I see lawsuits galore if this ever occurs. And I don't know if this is the first year this policy has been enforced or if it has been happening for years without a mis-hap, but I see it as inevitable.

Now I never point out a problem without offering a solution and here are a few of them used by other high schools,

1. Take one point off of their quarterly report card grade for each tardy.

2. Give them after-school detention after a set number of tardies 3. Add points to students' grades if they are NEVER tardy.

Each time my "son" has been tardy there have been at least 15-20 students in the Chill Out room so it is not as if this plan of Northwood's works and deters tardiness. He also says that many students arrive at the Chill Out room between 9:00-9:15 and just take their time at home if they know they will be one second late and then arrive at school just before 2nd period. I have opted to take my "son" to breakfast at the General Store if on the way to school we decide that he will have to sit in that ridiculous room.

Seventeen-year-olds are notorious for being disorganized and forgetful. It would be nice to reward those who are on time or make the punishment fit the crime as well as protect our children from life-ending scenarios.

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Tardiness in the fast lane

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