MABTON - Mabton Junior/Senior High School's attendance policy has just gotten a whole lot more strict, Principal Jay Tyus informed the Mabton School Board at its regular meeting this past Monday night.
Tyus reviewed some significant changes to the student handbook and chief among them was the significant change in attendance policy.
In the past, students who missed more than 15 days of school per semester lost credits. Tyus said once many students reached this point, they simply stopped coming.
Another point of contention for Tyus was the fact that of the sophomores that took the WASL, those who scored the lowest missed approximately 40 days of school.
Now, students who miss any more than five days of school have to make it up during Friday afternoon school or Saturday school, regardless of the reason for being absent.
"That's any type of absence that's not school related," Tyus told the school board.
School board member Jeanette Williams asked if it mattered whether or not the parents pulled the students from school. Tyus said no, it had to be made up by the end of the tri-mester.
She then asked about students who know they will be gone asking for homework to study in advance. Tyus said the student still has to make it up. Williams said she thought this sounded more like a student just "putting in their time" and that it sounded like more of a punishment.
Superintendent Sandra Pasiero-Davis said, "(A student) has missed information that (they need). It's not about (the student) being punished, you're being given an opportunity."
Pasiero-Davis also said that when a student asks for work in advance for future absences, then that's equivalent to saying a student can be given a textbook and not need a teacher. She emphasized that when a student misses classroom instruction, that student is missing a "context deeper and wider than just a textbook."
Pasiero-Davis encouraged the board to try it out and review the evidence. "Let's see evidence of how it's truly working or how it's truly not."
Also under the policy, students cannot bank hours ahead of time.
There is also a push this year for proper attire. Tyus told the school board that for the first 30 days of school, student apparel will be reviewed to ensure it's appropriate.
"(This is) a place of learning, not a fashion show," said Tyus.
Tyus said one concern expressed last year during dress code review was regarding apparel that could be viewed as gang related. This is an effort to ensure gang-related apparel, or other inappropriate garb that doesn't reflect modesty, isn't worn.