Deans Enforce Homeroom Detentions

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Deans Enforce Homeroom Detentions

By Thea Gonzales

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Assistant Principal Mark Rigby sent a cautionary e-mail on Oct. 29 to the student body and faculty advising against skipping or coming late to homeroom. As of three weeks ago, a detention will now be handed to any student found in the hallway during homeroom without a pass.

“It’s always been a policy. If you are tardy or late, you will get written up. This isn’t ‘new,’ it’s just become a focus,” Rigby said.

Many students don’t understand what the big deal is: why are administrators going to such lengths to enforce homeroom attendance? Coordinator of freshman homeroom mentoring and counselor Ann Alegnani argues that homeroom is an integral part of the day where significant information is being communicated to students.

“I know as a counselor that it’s not that big of a problem with the freshmen. However, for counselors, trying to track down our students — we depend on students being in homeroom. When students aren’t in homeroom, a lot of information is missed by the students, so it is an important piece for counselors to be delivering their curriculum and we find it to be difficult when students are roaming the hallways and not where they need to be,” Alegnani said.

Examples of essential information that students miss when not in homeroom include finals schedules, seating arrangements during assemblies, and graduation robe order forms.

In the past, deans have encouraged homeroom teachers to employ a variety of techniques to ensure the attendance of every student during homeroom. However, all of those strategies have since failed; detentions are the next line of defense for attendance.

“I think that a lot of techniques have been used in the past and it doesn’t seem like anything has worked: homeroom teachers trying to lock the doors, not allowing students in, security clearing out the halls… these didn’t seem to be effective. But now, if you’re in the hall, you get a detention,” Alegnani said.

Though there have been several issues with attendance that stem from students missing homeroom, for many students, the detentions are an ineffective and inconvenient new rule.

Regardless of homeroom — be it student government or homeroom lunch — students without a pass in the hallways will be given a detention. Students now have the responsibility to ask for passes and teachers have the responsibility to write them.

“One of our homeroom mentors got stuck in the halls because I was talking with him. He was delayed, I didn’t write him a pass, and he got a detention. I feel bad about that, but the deans said, ‘No. The student is going to receive the detention anyway.’ No exceptions. I respect that, and I feel that as a staff member, I need to be sure to write the passes,” Alegnani said.

Dean Alana Laury disagrees with the so-called “war on homeroom truancy.” For deans and other attendance administrators, being in the right place at the right time is a straightforward and uncomplicated school rule that must be followed by students.

“It is simply the deans enforcing the policy of students being in their assigned locations at their assigned time. There’s a lot of loitering going on during that time, so if students are in the hall, they’re likely to get into confrontations with security or other teachers about where they’re supposed to be. It’s to change the culture of the building. We’ve only been doing it for about three weeks and I think it’s had an effect with more students reporting to homeroom on time. I do think it’s sustainable. The deans try to be out in the halls a few days a week during homeroom issuing the consequences, so hopefully we continue to see things moving in the right direction,” Laury said.