- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your textbooks.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your pencils and paper.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your band instrument.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your gym uniform.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your novel you’re reading for English class.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your graphing calculator.
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will take away your planner.
Do any of these make sense to you? Does this one?
- Dear student, if you do not serve your detention, we will turn off your school laptop.
Apparently it does to one high school. Note also the public shaming orientation in the message below (“Well, we could email you but we choose instead to announce your name to the entire school…”). This is a ‘Character Counts‘ school district. Evidently the need to be respectful only runs in certain directions?
Note also the framing of the school laptops as a ‘nice resource to have,’ not an essential, core element of schooling. And the framing of social media as frivolous, not integral, powerful tools for learning.
The full message from the high school is below. Ugh. This might be even worse than when schools suspend kids for skipping class (“To teach you not to miss school, you’re going to miss some school…”). But, hey, it works so it must be okay, right?
NEW PROCEDURE FOR ADDRESSING UNEXCUSED ABSENCES
Unexcused absences stand in the way of student success. To more effectively encourage students to attend class regularly, [XYZ] High is taking a new approach to dealing with unexcused absences.
We want students to be successful, and we can’t help them academically when they have unexcused absences. With only 180 school days we strive to insure all students make maximum academic growth. With that being said we do understand that students will miss school for a variety of reasons, which include being sick, doctor appointments, etc. In each of these cases we expect parents to call in and excuse their son or daughter. With that parental excuse, the student will have 2 days to make up work for credit from the classes missed the day of the absence.
Our big concern is when the student’s absence is not excused. What this tells us is that the parents or the school did not know where the student was. Any day we are not aware of the reason for an absence, an automated call goes home that night alerting parents/guardians that their son or daughter missed a class.
The parent is still able to clear the absence the day after the phone message.
The following process and procedure for addressing unexcused absences was announced to students earlier this week.
Every Monday morning we will read over the PA the names of students with an unexcused absence the previous week and make them aware they have a 25 minute detention after school either Monday or Tuesday at 3:05 p.m. We also state that if students think they did not have an unexcused absence or they have a conflict, they need to see [YYY YYYYY] or [ZZZ ZZZZZ] during passing time to clear up any error or make other arrangements for serving the detention.
On Tuesday we send out emails to those students who did not serve their detention on Monday reminding the students to serve their 25 minute detention. On Wednesday we read the names one more time as a last reminder.
After Thursday’s opportunity to serve detention and a student has not served the detention or made other arrangements, we turn off the student’s computer until the detention is served.
We completely understand that the school issued computers are a resource to enhance student learning. However, we also know that the computers are a tool for social media that our students are very fond of using and think this approach will lead to desired results.
We implemented this for the first time this week and by the time it was noon on Friday 10 out of the 15 students still owing a detention had made arrangements to get their detention done as soon as possible.
In closing we have tried to put a process in place that will limit interruptions to classrooms, hold students accountable for their actions and have consequences that do not include missing class time (i.e., suspension).