Lilah Evans

Student drivers and parents alike understand the stress that originates from needing to get to school on time, and the recent traffic back-up is making that a very difficult task. Each morning, both Pleasant Street and N. Main Street are flooded with cars, trucks, and school buses heading to the same destination, and that makes for a time-consuming trip. As a student driver myself, I understand the importance of blocking out enough time to make sure I get to school on time, and how that is now very taxing with the extra 3-5 minutes it takes to get through the traffic jam.

There appear to be numerous causes for this issue, including the rerouting of traffic due to construction, fewer students taking the buses for reasons related to the pandemic, and a large number of student drivers because of an older junior class. This comes as a new issue for the school, assumingly as a result of the ongoing construction on 5&10, so the hope is that the issue will be resolved with the completion of said construction. However, that means that the matter at hand will exist for the foreseeable future, and students will still be dealing with the seemingly unjust policy surrounding detentions due to tardiness.

While, in some cases, students do in fact deserve the detentions they receive, it is often out of their control with morning traffic being as unpredictable as it is. If a student leaves their house with time to spare upon arriving at school, it is now a common occurrence that this same student will be repeatedly given tardies because they found themselves stuck in a line of traffic with their peers, with no way to get themselves into the building before the bell rings. These tardies lead to detentions, and students are not given a chance to explain their tardiness or its unavoidable nature. 

According to the student handbook, after their 4th tardy, and until their 6th, a student must serve “one office detention per offense and [a parent will be notified]”, and after their 6th offense, they will receive a half-day in-school suspension along with a parent notification, and for seniors, loss of senior privileges. The prospect of such severe punishment can have serious negative effects on students, in many respects. From athletic eligibility to poor grades to a lack of sleep for concern of being late, students are struggling to get the most out of their high school experience, it now seems they are being punished for something they are not responsible for.