Tardies, absences are a dangerous trend

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 1, 2000

Apparently, little Johnny isn’t getting to class on time … and that’s not a good thing. According to statistics released by the Natchez-Adams School District, excessive student tardies are an ongoing problem at all grade levels — even the youngest.

Some 130 students at Frazier Primary racked up more than 20 unexcused absences or tardies last school year.

That means, during the course of the nine-month school year, each of these students were late to school or simply missed school more than 20 times without the approval, or pardon, of the school administrator.

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We’re not talking about absences because of sickness, tardies due to doctor’s appointments or similar issues.

We’re talking about children whose parents just don’t get them to school on time … or at all, some days.

And it’s unexcusable.

By failing to get students to school — or to school on time — the adults are teaching a dangerous lesson that school, and in turn the opportunity to learn and grow, simply isn’t a priority.

And if you teach that lesson to 5- and 6-year-olds, it becomes a core attitude by the time they are 15-year-olds or 16-year-olds. That is evidenced by the statistics from Natchez High, where more than 140 students crossed the more than 20 unexcused absences/tardies tally last year.

We have to wonder what the children are missing when they’re late to school, or simply sitting at home in front of the television enjoying &uot;a day off.&uot; And, we have to wonder what lessons they are learning about responsibility, work ethic and even self-discipline … not to mention the lessons in math, history, reading, English and life that they’re missing in school.

We need to stop this trend … before it’s too late.