Attendance office cracks down on tardy problem

As the parking lot becomes more crowded, the number of students arriving to class late increases


Cameron Smutz

Max capacity: Student parking fills up quickly in the morning. Many students reported that finding parking was an obstacle to being on time. “The biggest factor that was interfering with my ability to get to school on time was the parking situation at the time of when the policy was put into place,” junior Caleb Cumberledge said.

On Feb. 25, Principal Leslie Ivelia sent out an email to all students regarding on-time arrivals titled “Attendance Matters”. This email explained the school’s goals of having students arrive on time and ready to learn, and how because of that, late arrivals would become punishable, stating that “we’ll be allowing everyone to start with a clean slate while also starting the process of providing warnings, which – if not heeded – could result in progressive consequences.”

These progressive consequences have come in the form of warnings, which, if a student gets three tardies it would result in having lunch detention.

“At Lake Stevens High School, because of the new tardy policy, the reason I got a detention was because I was late by two minutes, two days in a row,” senior Christian Correa said.

This new procedure was put in place because the staff were noticing an increasing rate of students being tardy due to various reasons.

One factor that is making it harder for students to arrive not only to school on time, but also to class on time, is the issues with parking. Many students are finding that there are not enough parking spaces within the student lot most of the time and that they have to park somewhere off-campus such as by Highland Elementary.

For some students, if they arrive at school on time, the extra time it takes to find an outside parking spot and walk all the way back to campus is making them late to their first class.

“You can be in control for getting here to school on time, but the increasing levels of parking and also the kind of long, treacherous walks you have to do if you park on the street by Highland is really time consuming and gets very annoying when you show up at 7:55 and end up still being late,” junior Shane Racine said.

A substantial element attributing to this parking problem is the fact that as the school year goes on, more sophomores are turning 16 and are then able to get their driver’s licenses, so they are choosing to drive themselves to school instead of taking the bus, taking up spots in the student parking lot. This was frustrating for students who had a hard time finding a parking spot in the morning because now it is causing them to get detention.

“Around the time that the late policy was put into place was when the parking lot started to get full to the brim because of sophomores getting driver’s licenses, and that caused me to be late a couple times and get one of the first detentions… I felt like they put in the policy at a very wrong time because that’s when the parking was very bad,” senior Cameron Burnett said.

The school acknowledged this issue in an email sent out by Principal Ivelia, which stated “As spring approaches, we know more students are able to drive given they’ve earned their driver’s license. As such, we know that finding a place to park becomes increasingly difficult.”

In the email, the options of riding the bus, carpooling or walking to school were suggested as a means to reduce congestion in the parking lot.

However, what students are really having a hard time adjusting to is the addition of the barriers around the school. These barriers have doors that lock after the bell rings, which means that if a student arrives on campus even a little bit late, they cannot walk straight to their class. Instead they have to walk all the way down to the main entrance, check-in at the Attendance Office, and then proceed to their class, which could sometimes be very far away.

“I was getting here barely on time every day, so I would have to park on the street next to Highland, but I would have to walk in a horseshoe all the way around the campus through the office all the way back to Mr. Hein’s which is at the opposite side of campus closer to where I parked, which would take way more time and would cause me to be a lot more late than I should have if the barriers did not exist,” junior Caleb Cumberledge said.

With all these difficulties, students will have to work on changing their morning routines, so they can be extra early to school. The school itself might have to also consider expanding the available parking upwards or outwards in order to combat the increasing number of students and reduce the amount of students parking in nearby neighborhoods.