Is the increase of hall skipping and poor attendance caused by the budget cuts and lack of teachers?

Senior Hodan Ibrahim leaving in school suspension room, after a misunderstanding with a dean after being in the halls during free period.

Asisa Museid

Senior Hodan Ibrahim leaving in school suspension room, after a misunderstanding with a dean after being in the halls during free period.

Asisa Museid, Staff Writer

Whether in the Commons, halls, or bathrooms, students seem to be passing the time somewhere other than class. Since the start of school this fall, the school has sanctioned stricter tardiness and absence policies. Students, for example, were not allowed to attend Homecoming if they had more than three tardies. The tighter rules have caused quite a stir in the past few weeks, prompting many to question why they are being implemented. Since many South teachers were laid off or simply quit due to budget cuts last spring, resulting in many classrooms with substitutes. Since many teachers have yet to be hired despite the fact that we are approaching midterms. Even though substitute teachers are solely there to fill in for teachers, they often might not specialize in the subjects they are substituting for.

I didn’t have a math teacher for the first two weeks of school, which resulted in fewer and fewer students arriving for class because we didn’t have the material for the assignments. Even after our teacher was hired, we were still behind other classes that had finished the unit we were just starting. It was a bit of a change in my and my peers’ routines after finally having a teacher because there was work to be expected. Since many of us had grown accustomed to not showing up or having no work to do during the first few weeks of class, it was difficult to take the work seriously. That could just be my experience, but many students I’ve talked to have said the only reason they aren’t attending classes is because they, too, don’t have a teacher and don’t see the point. “Being there and doing nothing and nothing to be graded in addition to me not learning anything feels like a waste of time,” freshman Zulekha A. expressed. Because it is her first year, she must believe that a typical high school classroom is this disorganized, which is not a good way to begin her high school experience.

I’ve noticed more people in the Commons during class hours this year compared to previous. It led to a lot of back and forth on where students should be between students and deans. Due to that persistent problem, the In School Suspension rule was added this year. It was put into place as a result of constant miscommunication and arguments with deans and students who might have PSEO, free periods, or simply have no teachers; it resulted in a significant amount of criticism by students. The commotion caused by the budget cut has raised the attention of the Site Council, which consists of staff members, parents and students. During the first meeting last spring, senior Ayaan Hersi, co-chair of the site council, discussed how challenging the upcoming year would be for freshmen. “The administration knew how challenging it would be this year, especially with extracurricular activities,” she claimed. Many after-school programs lack advisors due to a staffing shortage, and they are also unable to provide the majority of the necessary supplies. The administration is therefore working to find a solution to these numerous recurring problems. We still have yet to see the effectiveness of the stricter rules, and they might even have made matters worse.