CHS may be 24th in the nation for college readiness, but its confusing and intensive process of approving excused absences makes for a less successful learning environment, as it discourages additional educational endeavors and promotes dishonesty. Whether it’s due to a college visit or a religious holiday, getting an excused absence ahead of time is more of a hassle than just bringing in a note claiming sickness, so the latter is presented as the far more attractive option.
CHS policy requires students to have a signed early excusal pass in order to be excused on the day of planned absence, but obtaining that pass takes most of the school day and is easier said than done.
Students must go to the attendance office, pick up an early excusal pass, and promptly have all seven teachers sign it before the desired excusal date. Keep in mind, this can only happen after a student gets his or her assistant school administrator’s signature. Not only is this a hassle for the students, but there is also no guarantee that all seven teachers and the administrator will be present on that specific day to sign the pass.
If students do not obtain an early excusal pass ahead of time, they can just bring in a note stating that they were sick on that day. Even if they cannot bring in the note, their parents or guardians can simply contact the attendance office and claim that their child cannot come to school due to illness. Handing in a note after the fact or emailing the attendance office is a much easier process and takes less time than spending the whole school day getting signatures.
According to the attendance office head Cathleen Libbee, students can be excused if they have the majority of their teachers and their administrator’s signatures. Also, if a student was sick, he or she can just bring in an excusal note the day after, explaining his or her absence.
While this process may not always conflict with the students and their plans, more often than not, it does. It can become an obstacle particularly when juniors and seniors go on college visits.
Upperclassmen are granted five excused absences for college visits, but must turn in a signed early excusal pass to be excused for each of those five days.
With more pressing matters at hand, students shouldn’t be required to use their time making sure that they received the right pass and all eight signatures.
In fact, getting an early excusal pass may discourage students from college visiting altogether. If our excusal process prevents our students from missing school for educational purposes, how are we supposed to stay 24th or even improve our rank in the nation?
The early excusal may seem to be a quick and innovative way of keeping CHS organized and ensuring that students do not receive too many unexcused absences. By getting signatures from all seven teachers, students notify teachers of their absences and consequently, they stay on top of missed work. However, the process is only a nuisance.
An early excusal pass with eight signatures will not secure a student’s path to college, nor will it stop him or her from missing school, so maybe it’s time to stop making excuses about an inexcusably harrowing process.