If you don’t have a recurring dream about waking up late for school well into retirement age, you should be required to take the Turing test.
Depending on where you grew up, tardy punishments ranged from mild to downright draconian. Like most parts of education, however, tardies and absences have changed quite a bit over the last few years.
If you are in one of the harsher districts in your state you might even be hit with the potential of being forced to repeat the year. On the opposite end, lenient schools can have kids that hit triple-digit tardies without any real punishment outside of in-school suspension.
Men are not created equal (contrary to what Mr. Jefferson would like to believe) and neither are school districts. To better understand the vast differences in rules between different districts, let’s look at how many times you can be late in the average school year.
How Many Tardies Can You Have?
We all have a friend or have become that friend that managed to graduate despite missing the better part of their school year.
Contrary to the incomprehensible luck of some of our acquaintances, you are unlikely to get away with more than five tardies without hearing from the school. Even though all school districts decide to enforce attendance differently, most have steps they take prior to holding the kid back or issuing fines to the parents.
It is important to know the difference between a tardy and an absence. While schools vary, a tardy is a child who is late to school while an absence is a child who failed to show up for at least half of the school day. Both can be excused and letting the school know prior will save you a lot of trouble down the road.
The best way to know exactly how many tardies you can get is to check your local school website or even your state’s laws on tardies and attendance.
To offer an example, in the state of Virginia a student can be late five times before a principal decides to take action. This is for unexcused tardies or absences exclusively, so kids who have to take a few sick days don’t have to worry about the dreaded call from the school. After the seventh tardy or absence that is unexcused, the parents of the student will have to meet with the staff in person.
This is where it starts to get a bit unique, though. While the staff who are keeping track of your child’s attendance can choose to take further action should the situation not rectify itself – they aren’t required to. Should further tardies take place, it is the principal’s duty to reach out to the parents to work on a mutually agreed plan.
At the end of all of this, if the kid is still waltzing into school as late as he usually does – the school will then contact an attendance officer to reach out. When the parents do get notified by the officer, they have up to ten days to pick a date for a meeting. If the parents do not meet the requirements met by the officer, he can reach out to the local district court and request supervision for the student.
For Virginia, the school should keep paperwork documenting all tardies and the actions taken to minimize future absenteeism.
Bear in mind this is the abbreviated version of one state’s list of rules, it hardly takes into account the entirety of the nation. In Georgia, every unexcused tardy or absence after the fifth slip-up is considered a violation of the law.
The punishments and steps taken to reduce tardiness may shift wildly by district – but almost every district uses five tardies as its standard for what is permissible.
How To Be On Time
In another article, we discussed how to improve student attendance for kids not going to school at all. This is more for the kids who are fine with attending school, they want to succeed, but they always manage to roll into the front doors anywhere from thirty minutes to three hours late.
One out of three Americans don’t get the required amount of sleep they need — and the other two lie about it!
The US economy loses an estimated 411 billion dollars due to sleep deprivation and that’s not even factoring in a student’s ability to comprehend lessons.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has had the pleasure of a stressful week that we do not get the sleep our bodies require very often.
If you find that you are often sleeping well past your alarm, it means you are probably not getting sufficient rest to begin with. To alleviate this, the answer is obvious but painfully challenging to stick to. While it may feel like you are limiting your few hours of freedom at the end of the day by hitting the sack – it’s crucial for your education and your long-term health that you sleep well.
You can get better sleep by making sure that you aren’t looking at screens, making sure your bedroom is comfortable and trying to go to bed at roughly the same time.
You should try to avoid any coffee, energy drinks, and midnight snacks before you go to bed as they can also negatively affect your sleep. It can also help to be more physically active so you have less energy come nighttime.
Plan The Night Prior
As elementary as it may come across, there is something to be said for being prepared. The best strategy for making sure you get to school on time is to give yourself the appropriate amount of time to get ready in the morning. We also understand that most of you will not wanna do that, so the best solution is to make sure you don’t have to do much when you do wake up late.
Try to plan your outfit the night before and make sure everything is in a convenient location you can find when tired. If you are not a morning person it can become very easy to lose your phone despite it being in your pocket. Once you create a routine of placing objects in the same spot over the course of a couple of weeks, you start to remember where your personal effects “live”.
You can also plan the night prior by reducing activities that are going to stimulate you when you are closer to bedtime. It’s kind of like when your sports coach of choice tells you that the game starts in practice – except there’s not a sadistic middle-aged man yelling at you. If you can make sure that you are ready to get the day started before your head hits the pillow, you will have an easier time when the alarm goes off.
Work On Time Management
This will come across like a pamphlet from a boss informing their employees on how to improve efficiency – because it kind of is. We all procrastinate to some degree and sit in a comfortable puddle of indecision for far too long before deciding to leap into an activity. If you feel this describes you at all it could benefit you to try and make your day a bit more regimented so you can reliably follow a schedule.
If you find yourself in between activities for the better part of the day it can help to be more strict about your time management. This can be aided by limiting phone scrolling or other idle activities that don’t offer much in terms of productivity.
We aren’t telling you to become a worker ant, just to maybe limit the facebook memes to an hour a day. Your loved one’s political opinions will be there the next day, we can assure you.
You can also try to limit your obligations throughout the week. We all like to keep busy. Regrettably, sometimes this comes at the cost of our sleep, education, bank account, relationships, and the list goes on!
The point is, we all work at our best when we aren’t stretched so thin. If you want to see improvements in your attendance, grades, and passions try cutting some of the fat from your afternoons.
Chronic tardiness is a nationwide problem that affects a number of schools as well as students. We all have uniquely unfavorable things we have to deal with outside of our professional and academic careers, but it doesn’t have to stop us from succeeding.
If you find that school comes difficult due to outside pressures, it can help to utilize a few lifehacks to still thrive in your education.
By getting better sleep, getting ahead of the following school day, and maximizing the free time in your day – you can fix your attendance a lot more easily than you might realize.
School is an experience for everybody, but it’s not always a pleasant one. Unfortunately, if you want the best crack at adulthood, it helps to show up to class.