ETHS should accommodate in-school absences


We need an in-school absence policy.

It’s time we open up students’ schedules so that they may experience the important events held at our school. Throughout the year, and especially in the months of April and May, various educational and enjoyable events take place that students can’t attend. From poetry workshops, to Holocaust Remembrance panels, to Senior Studies presentations, there is a lot to learn, but not enough space or time to do so.

In order to assure that students take full advantage of all the resources at ETHS, students should be allotted five excused in-school absences per quarter. This policy would model the in-school college visits policy, which states that students may not miss more than one period a day and may not be absent from the same class more than once per week.

Of course, students would be expected to notify their teachers prior to the date that they’re missing. They should receive a signature, similar to the planned absence form, so that they can prove to the attendance office that the absence was approved. Also, the student should include a signature to comply with the fact that they must complete the missed class work.

An in- school absence policy is necessary for two reasons: lack of space and time. Space is limited in many of these events. Some classes are lucky to have teachers that bring their classes to such events, however not all classes can attend at the same time due to space constraints. Furthermore, by bringing an entire class, there will undoubtedly be a group of students disinterested in the subject at hand. We urge administration to consider this question: Why not make space for students who want to be there, and allow those who don’t care to remain in class? That way, both parties are happy.

Also, an in-school absence policy would avoid students’ urge to ditch class in order to attend important events throughout the day. Guest speakers shouldn’t be expected to present during all nine periods of the day. These guests probably have busy schedules and can typically only visit for select periods of time, which means many students miss out on important and interesting experiences. Even with the multitude of events throughout Sexual Assault Awareness Week, if students don’t have a free period or if the events don’t occur during their lunch period, they lose the chance to gain insight on important matters.

Furthermore, events like Senior Studies projects are not able to coincide with lunch periods. So, unless a presentation occurs during your free period, the majority of students are forced to miss class and acquire an unexcused absence for going to support their friends or learn more about an interesting topic. Some argue that all Senior Studies presentations should be scheduled outside of the school day, but this neglects the fact that many students have after school obligations, such as work, family errands, etc.

We at the Evanstonian believe that giving students a set number of in-school absences is necessary in order to accommodate students and assure that presenters get the recognition they deserve. Students should be allowed to attend the in-school presentations that interest them without having to worry about using one of their eight absences. This freedom to choose will eliminate the problem of bored audiences and increase students’ appreciation for all that goes on in the school.