by Chloee Reimer
A revision to the PC attendance policy went into effect at the start of the semester. Now if a student is absent from school for 9 days (not counting school activities) their parents will receive a letter noting the absences as “excessive.” If a student reaches 12 days of being absent, a meeting with the parents of the student is required. Then, at 15 absences in one semester, the student will not receive credit from the class they have been absent from. Exceptions might be made if a signed doctor’s statement explains the student’s absences as valid.
But why now? What has changed from the beginning of the year that these revisions were made? Assistant principal and social studies teacher Larry Eggink explained that the revisions were developed “because of a higher-than-normal rate of absenteeism during the first semester, mostly out of concern for students who were getting too behind in their school work due to their poor attendance,” he said. They also found that other high schools already had policies similar to this in place.
According to Eggink, the changes were made with the benefit of the students in mind. Teachers were beginning to feel worried for their students, as many of them were falling far behind in their classes. The policy benefits the parents, as well as the students. “So far, I believe that it has helped strengthen communication with parents about the need to be more attentive to their son or daughter’s attendance,” said Eggink.
Some students have given negative feedback to the new revisions, however, almost half of the student body feel the new policy is a good idea. The other half feel that more revisions were needed, or that the policy was a bad idea in general. Students are concerned that some students get severely ill and cannot control how long they are absent from classes. “You can’t help if you are sick or on vacation,” said freshman Kody Jansen.
Recurring sickness was also common this past winter, which may be a possible factor for why so many students missed school. Other students questioned whether family vacations and mission trips should be excused rather than punished.
“The amount of absent days should be extended. Some students are sick more than others, and sometimes the illness does not require a doctor’s note,” said junior Roseane Meinders.
A new idea that circulated among many of the students was the possibility of adding more days the student may be absent in a semester before receiving notification. These ideas and questions, however, are still to be discerned. And until they are, students are held to this new and revised policy.