Administration introduces new attendance policy

Els Krimsky, Sports Editor

The new school year has officially begun, and this new year has brought a new attendance policy.

The administration hopes the change in protocol will keep students learning and experiencing high school for as much time as possible.

Attendance policies have been different in past years to the unpredictability brought upon all communities by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now that JC has made it to the light end of the tunnel, an updated attendance policy is not a surprise.

The most notable difference compared to prior years is that there will no longer be differentiation between excused and unexcused absences. Students are allotted 10 absences and 10 early departures/late arrivals. If a student exceeds more than 10 in either category, they will face disciplinary action, which each proceeding violation connects to a more serious punishment.

Assistant Principal Danica Attanasio believes this is the most important update that students should be aware of. “We have this idea of preparing students for the real world as they move on. You have this allotment with this many chances, and [students] can choose how they wish to use them.”

The shift of placing responsibility on the students for their absences was also made to encourage the avoidance of scheduling appointments or events during school hours. “What is most important is that students are here learning and experiencing high school every day,” Mrs. Attanasio said, emphasizing the accountability students and their families should take for when a student misses all or part of the school day.

Attendance Moderator Joe Proud said, “There was a lot of grey area when it came to attendance before.”
Instances of absences for reasons like recruitment events, mental health days, and weather all fall into this grey area that Mr. Proud mentioned when discussing the constraints of the old attendance policy.
“It just came down to that we want students here on time and regularly. We wanted to come up with a system that could not be cheated but also gave students the freedom to decide for themselves,” Mr. Proud said.

Students should not worry that the newly-installed rules were just a power-play made by the administration. Leniency within the new policy exists.

Mr. Proud added, “We don’t want it to seem like we are attacking anyone.”

Mrs. Attanasio explained, “We did some research in what other schools were doing — like if they differentiate between excused and unexcused absences.”

Mr. Proud also reported that members of the administration “looked into state laws and what Harford County public school policy was” regarding attendance.

Another notable, but less extreme change, to JC’s attendance policy is that students with unscheduled time first mod no longer have the option of going straight to the cafeteria with their backpacks and outerwear. Any student with these items will be marked late once the school day starts.

Students are expected to go straight to their lockers, put away all items except for school necessities, and report to the cafeteria for attendance. The academic wing will be closed for all students during off mods between 8:00 am until the end of the school day in hopes of lowering the frequency of disruptions that may distract students in classes.

Now that the JC community is back in a routine that only the school year can call for, students and their families are expected to know and act accordingly with the school’s updated attendance policy.

If further information is needed on the policy, visit the student handbook on the official John Carroll website under the “Current Patriots” tab.