A new cut policy, discussed last year by school administrators, has finally been implemented this term.
The policy dictates that students who have more than three unexcused absences in a marking period cannot receive a 90 or above for that marking period, thus students with nine or more total unexcused absences throughout the whole semester cannot receive a final grade of 90 or above. Students with more than 6 unexcused absences in a marking period and 18 for the term cannot receive a grade of 80 or above, while students with 10 or more unexcused absences in a marking period and 30 for the term cannot pass the class.
This policy was created and discussed extensively by Principal Stanley Teitel’s cabinet last year. “We talked about it all year long,” Assistant Principal English Eric Grossman said. “All the assistant principals and Teitel decided on it.”
According to Teitel, this policy was implemented due to the high number of cuts last year. “[Assistant Principal Technology Services Edward] Wong told me that there were about 30,000 cuts last year,” he said.
The goal of this policy is to lower this number by finding a way to discourage students from cutting class.
“We were seeing quite a few report cards where students missed many classes in various subjects. In some classes, they were failing and in others they were getting high As,” Grossman said. “We feel that it is important to send a consistent message about the value and importance of attending class.”
“I spoke about this in all of the school assemblies,” Teitel said. “Students should not be cutting class.”
The other intention of the policy is to give fairer grades to students. “It is unfair that there are students who are attending class every day who get lower grades than people who are consistent cutters,” Grossman said.
“As a student, you need to be proactive and make sure that you are in class,” Assistant Principal Social Studies Jennifer Suri said. “It is your responsibility.”
Teachers believed that the policy would be effective, but only to students who cared about their grades. “In general, it’s a good idea. It will help but I also think there should be another punishment for students who are failing already,” math teacher Gary Rubenstein said. “Maybe detention.”
“To some students, time is more valuable than grades,” biology teacher Dr. Daniel Piloff said.
Some students believe this policy will be generally effective in discouraging cutting. “It would be effective for the people who care about school,” junior Joanne Choi said. “It’s a good policy. It will wake up a lot of kids.”
Others disagree. “I don’t think this policy will discourage students from cutting because some people will always cut class,” sophomore Ivy Lai said.
“Forcing kids to be in class by threatening their grades is not the message that the administration should be sending out,” junior Mohit Kumar said. “Grades should be reflective of how well someone knows the material, not of how many unexcused absences they have.”