Unfairly Detained? Though in Class, Some Claim They’re Marked Absent

Senior Claire Smith** nervously answers a phone call from her mom. On the other end of the line her mom scolds her for skipping fourth hour, the problem is that Smith was in class.

“I wasn’t late or anything, I was on time to class and the worst part was I even gave a ten minute presentation where I presented to the class and the teacher asked me questions and I was still marked absent,” Smith said.

The new attendance policy makes students sign out before they leave the school. Unexcused absences in which the student did not sign out will not be excused. The new policy reduces skipping but it also makes it difficult to prove that you were in class if you were wrongly marked absent.

Attendance secretary Susan Pomroy says the issue is not very common.

“It’s usually one of two issues” Pomroy said, “Either there is a substitute and a student will walk in late or be sitting in the wrong seats, and with the teachers, again I’m hearing the student aren’t coming into the right class or they don’t come in and check in with the teacher.”

But for Smith neither situation was the case. According to Smith this also isn’t the first time it has happened.

“This has happened to me twice now in the same class, once on the second week of school and a week later on the day I gave the presentation,” Smith said “On top of all that, last week I get a thing saying I have Saturday detention because of the absences,”

Smith’s parents agreed to excuse the detention but they weren’t happy about it.

“Yeah they excused it but they weren’t happy about it because I shouldn’t have been marked absent in the first place,” Smith said.

Senior JP Tallent had a similar experience.

“I didn’t know I was absent until I got a Saturday detention,” Tallent said “I didn’t really think much of it. But I know a lot of people who this has happened too. When I went to turn in my detention sheet there was a whole line of people with detention sheets there and they were complaining about being marked absent{When they were there}.”

Instances of students who are wrongfully marked absent are often unreported. Student Jessica Johnson** said she didn’t report the absence.

“Well I was in class that day and I checked power school later and saw that I was absent so my parents just talked to the teacher and he excused it, we didn’t talk to the attendance office or anything,” said Johnson.

Some teachers have a method of ensuring that kids aren’t wrongfully marked absent. Social studies teacher Dawn Whitehead, has a way of making sure she doesn’t mark students absent on accident.

“I have a class roster with attendance and dates and then I take that list and verify numbers and call off names just in case somebody may have not signed in by mistake” Whitehead said, “I check absences so I actually, between the signing in and my double checking attendance is kind of done three different times, and its it has worked for me over the years.”

According to Whitehead students are almost never marked absent by mistake. With the new attendance system, Whitehead’s unique method of attendance eliminates mistakes and stress for students and teachers.

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