Bueller?…Bueller?… Seniors rue new policy

By Staff Writer, Ben Hollander

In Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Ferris took part in outrageous shenanigans in the city of Chicago while driving his girlfriend around in a ’61 Ferrari, activities that will forever be idolized by any second semester senior buying time while college approaches. While I admittedly have done nothing of his caliber during my various school skipping escapades throughout my years at CHS, I certainly have enjoyed every last minute ditching class.

But alas, now that the dream of second semester senior year is seemingly fingertips away, in a storied land where teachers taking attendance mutter a dull “Bueller” as they routinely skip past my name, my dreams were destroyed.

It was as if a bomb had been dropped on the auditorium during my first hour of senior year, so devastating that hydrogen would have cringed at its mere mention. For those unaware of what I am referring to, a new attendance policy was put into place over the summer, a policy different from previous years when individual teachers were responsible for dishing out punishments or loss of credits. Now that power belongs to the county computer system. The program that teachers use to take attendance will notify administration when we have been unexcused from class three times, which results in a parent conference with administration. Five absences will result in an appealable loss of credit.

Now I don’t want to point fingers, but I do not think the majority of our seniors last year would have gone through second semester without at least one parent conference. And if Mr. Bueller had gone to CHS I think it is fair to assume he would’ve had to continue onto the 13th grade.

It is a complete travesty that this is what MCPS has come to in order to make sure kids come to class to get the material. I’m sure they put the policy in place because they saw some sort of decline in academic performance that they automatically associated with a rise in student absences.

What about the rest of us that skip every now and then but still remain attentive and responsible in the classroom? If the policy was in place all my previous years of high school, I sure would have lost credit in that fifth period art class that started way too early, that fourth period English class that was so inconveniently before lunch and that first period Global Issues class that rudely interrupted my sleep schedule on some days. The reality is, yes, it is possible to skip school occasionally in some classes and not have it be detrimental to your final grade, as I’m sure most of you “casual non-comers” are well aware of.

If I were in charge of putting a new attendance policy in place I would specify guidelines for punishment based on the grade maintained by each student in their individual classes. If senior Observer staff writer Sebastian Romero is able to keep an A in his fifth period gym basketball class, why should his parents be called to a meeting when he is absent a mere three times? But on the other hand, if senior Observer Editor-in-Chief Joe Haynes is skipping AP Stat frequently and his parents are worried about his deteriorating D+, perhaps a meeting with administration about Joe’s lack of attendance would be wise before his grade declines any more.

Unfortunately, however, I was not in charge of forging the new MCPS attendance policy, and just like the people that put soda in their water cups at Chipotle, the frequent offenders ruined it for the rest of us. It is a sad day for us students and all the other high schoolers across the county as we now mourn the loss of the beautiful freedom we once had before the evil days of oppression from the new attendance program.

There might indeed be some promise, however, my good peers. With my calculations, (that you are not obliged to trust) the average CHS student can still get away with skipping two days in every class he or she has for the duration of an entire semester. Which means in a semester you get 14 opportunities to play hooky, 630 minutes of school-hour shenanigans and a whopping 37,800 seconds of 100 percent blood-rushing-class skipping thrills.

So CHS, I can offer just one more piece of advice to you all, follow in the footsteps of our forefather skipper Ferris. When you decide to take a day off, make well sure that you were deathly “sick” for the entirety of the adventure.