The Red and Black Editorial: Does JCHS take attendance too seriously?


Red Black, Staff Reporter

Nothing stays the same for long at Jefferson City High School. As new staff is welcomed into the JCHS family, new thoughts and ideas are brought up in order to make our school better. Many students at JCHS believe that attendance is taken way too seriously. However, many students are also not aware of the way attendance impacts our school.

There are numerous reasons why attendance is important to public schools. Many of those are too complex for students to understand, which is not necessarily the students’ fault. Students are never told the importance of attendance in a way that engages them and speaks to them. Thankfully, associate principal Joe Lauchstaedt is here to enlighten us on some of the factors that attendance impacts

“The main reason [attendance is important] is academic achievement. You have to be here in order to learn. It’s very difficult to learn what we are trying to teach if you are not in the building,” Lauchstaedt said. “There are other factors in terms of how the school is rated, the APR (Annual Performance Report), funding and other reasons, but the main reason is academic achievement.”

Of course academic achievement is very important, but another reason that really sticks out is funding. Most students do not realize that public schools receive funding through attendance. In other words, schools lose money when students do not attend school. This is especially important at public schools simply because students (or their parents/ guardians) do not pay to attend the school.

JCHS’s school rating comes from the state along with other things impacted by attendance. Every state sets their own requirements based on their own needs.

“The state expects us to have 90 percent of our students attending schools 90 percent of the time,” Lauchstaedt said. “When we get below that 90 percent threshold we begin losing points on how we are rated as a school.”

As of Dec. 16 2016, 77.5 percent of students were attending school 90 percent of the time. Although it could be worse, this statistic is not something JCHS should be proud of and the student body could improve it very easily.

You may be wondering how the administration disciplines the students who continue to be absent. With no surprise, there are plenty of disciplinary actions in place as well as new regulations coming into play

“We discipline those who continue to be absent by focusing on conferencing all the way through in-school suspension if necessary. In some cases, we will refer a student to truancy court,” Lauchstaedt said. “We also have suspension from activities, which is where the dance portion comes into play and we are looking to possibly expand that in the future years.”

The absences that count against going to school dances include unexcused and non-documented absences. Unexcused absences are when a parent does not call in and a doctor’s note is not turned into the attendance office. Non-documented absences are when a parent does call in, but a doctor’s note is not turned into the attendance office. Absences that do not count against going to school dances include documented absences and school activities. School activities are when a teacher, coach or advisor has communicated with the attendance office regarding a school event that will take place during school hours

Now that you know the facts, you might be wondering how the students at JCHS feel about the attendance policy. Unlike many students, senior Addison Brown believes that attendance is a serious problem

“JC doesn’t take attendance too serious. Our attendance is really bad and the school loses a lot of funding just for that,” Brown said. “They are only crazy about it because it’s a real problem.”

Every student looks at their own attendance differently. While some students simply do not care about school or their academics, others cannot bear to miss a single day. Many student athletes push through school with no sick days because they feel that’s what they have to do. Senior Sarah Hirst understands what it is like to worry about attendance as a student athlete.

“As a student athlete, I feel as though I can never miss school because it is important to the team that you are at every practice and game,” Hirst said. “In order to be able to practice or play in a game you must attend a full day of school.”

It is understandable that a student may feel as though the attendance requirements are hard to meet, but not everything in life will be easy. Brady McGrail, early graduate of the class of 2017, understands why making it to school on time can be a hassle.

“I kind of do, [find the attendance requirements hard to meet] but kind of don’t. Many students have jobs and go straight to work after school. Then they get off around nine or ten at night and have to stay up late to do homework,” McGrail said. “However, this is preparing them for when they have a family and have to stay up late with the kids and then go to work early in the morning.”

The importance of attendance is not going to change. The administration is going to continue buckling down with new rules and policies. Think about it for a minute. Is it really going to hurt you to go to school? Believe it or not, the answer is no. That doesn’t mean come to school if you are legitimately sick. If you are sick, then by all means stay home and get better. However, if you are just being lazy, then stop being such a bum and start coming to school.