A Project for Better Journalism chapter

The Attendance Policy vs The Flu

This year, Harrisonville High Schools Attendance policy has some very big changes put in place that affect every aspect of a student’s school life.  Now, you must have 90% attendance to participate in anything extra curricular, and seniors must have that 90% to walk at graduation. The biggest change of all, however, is the finals opt outs.  Previously, opting out depended on your grades and your awarded card level. Students with A’s and B’s could opt out with a blue or platinum card, and anything lower could not. Now it all depends on your attendance.

This year, the flu is at one of the highest peaks it has ever been, and students are getting sick left and right.  Whenever a student gets sick they are expected to stay home to avoid getting others sick, but with this new attendance policy, there is another game going on.  

“If I were sick I would probably still go to school,” said Emily Joseph, a freshman.  “I might stay home if it were serious, but I would definitely have to mull over my decision because I don’t want to take finals that I wouldn’t have to if I didn’t miss any school.”

So in light of this new attendance policy, many students are now showing up to school with sicknesses like the flu in order to avoid having to take finals, and it is creating an at risk environment for everyone else.  

Austen Ceconis, a junior, had the flu back in December, so seriously that he had to go to the hospital.  He still showed up for school the following day, though.

“I wanted to keep my finals opt outs so a hardworking student like me could have some sort of reward,” Ceconis said.  “I think the policy should go back to the card system because the kids who worked hard got rewarded while kids who were failing didn’t.”

The policy has done some good, despite the complaints of finals opt outs.  It has given kids incentive to work harder and increased the overall attendance percentage, but it also had made good students lives more difficult.  As freshmen Emily Joseph put it,

“Your ability to take or not take finals currently depends on the luck of your immune system, not your will to attend school.”

So the real question is can the policy be altered to help out the hardworking students, and if so how?