The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

New tardy policy introduces lunch detention

Oscar Johnson
A new tardy policy sparks conversation on campus.

Los Altos High School introduced a new tardy policy this semester, which requires students to attend a 25-minute lunch detention in the Eagle Theater for every ten tardies received across all classes. Tardies from last semester will not be included in the policy.

According to Principal Tracey Runeare, lunch detentions will not be marked in any permanent records; instead, they will be available on Aeries, which colleges will not see, but teachers and parents can. Additionally, there will be escalating consequences for students who continue to receive lunch detentions or who purposely skip them, the specifics of which are still being determined.

Runeare explained lunch detention is intended for students to make up for the time they missed in class, and spend it doing something productive, such as homework or reading a book. To ensure productivity, phone usage and other unrelated school activities will not be allowed.

“We really hope that the tardy policy is showing students how important we think it is to get to class on time,” Runeare said.

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However, many students don’t view the policy in the same way. Because of the recent construction projects on campus, some students believe being on time is sometimes out of their control.

“I think it’s lame,” freshman Dulce Cruz Cardoso said. “What if your next class is on the other side of campus? How are you going to make it on time?”

“There is construction going on throughout the middle of the school, so I think admin should be a little bit more lenient,” senior Aditya Narasimha said.

Runeare said she understands how construction poses an extra challenge in getting to class on time and encourages students to communicate their circumstances with their teachers.

“Most teachers are really flexible and will work with students on that because they’re experiencing the construction too,” Runeare said.

Social Studies teacher Roger Kim, whose classroom is in the 600s wing, is compromising with his students who have to walk across campus to get to his class.

“I generally don’t mark students tardy for about a minute or two, so I do give them leeway,” Kim said. “If you talk to me, I’m more than happy to give you more time or leave a little early if you need to. I’m totally flexible.”

Trigonometry and Math Analysis Honors teacher Linh Tran, whose class is in the 400s, expressed similar sentiments to Kim.

“In my first and second period or after lunch, a third of my students are tardy,” Tran said. “About nineteen to twenty tardies a day. If they walk in a minute after the bell rings, it’s fine, but after, I start marking them tardy because I’m already teaching.”

So far no lunch detentions have been held. The policy has only been in place for a few weeks, so it’s hard to tell whether it’s been successful in motivating students to get to class on time. Students and teachers alike had mixed feelings on the matter.

Some believed that they could already see the effects of the policy.

“I’ve noticed that more students are rushing to beat the bell now,” Kim said. “I have [fewer] tardies than I used to after the policy was announced.”

“It is kind of unfair,” junior Talia Frank said. “But I think it will motivate [students] to get to class on time.”

Others were uncertain the policy would have its intended effect.

“I think we need some sort of enforcement in terms of tardies to encourage people to come in on time,” Tran said. “I am kind of doubtful any enforcement will take place.”

“Motivation by fear is never a good way to motivate people,” Aditya said.

Runeare stressed that the policy was simply meant to give students more of a reason to get to class on time. She added that she would consider adjusting the current policies if she deemed it necessary.

“My goal is that no one gets lunch detention because they are on time to class,” Runeare said.

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Kathleen Zhu
Kathleen Zhu, Staff Writer
Matilda Haney Foulds
Matilda Haney Foulds, Staff Writer
Oscar Johnson
Oscar Johnson, News Editor

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  • A spectator | Apr 2, 2024 at 8:59 pm

    This was a problem we had in my high school. The only reason you would get lunch detention is just because you were tardy which I think was a feeble reason as other misbehavior such as bullying would get protected. Even with the whole tardy policy in place, the lunch detention room was filling up with the same students who faced challenges out of their control mainly due to their disability and it was hard to tell how much the school cared about the students and if the detention room being filled up was what they wanted. However, you would get suspended/expelled should this continue if you had another offense. As a result, a lot of kids started to skip school as a whole simply just because they were a few minutes late. Respect to the teachers who are being lenient and understanding towards their students by not penalizing them for being a minute late or two. I understand this is meant to motivate students to be punctual but, but I wish the leniency would apply to the policy as a whole.

  • Maulik Dhakal | Feb 2, 2024 at 7:05 am

    A pupil shall not be required to remain in school during the intermission at noon, or during any recess.

    Cal. Code Regs. Tit. 5, § 352

  • LAHS parent | Jan 26, 2024 at 4:24 pm

    This is a ridiculous policy, how much more stress do you need to add on to your students lives? This along with not allowing students to change classes will add to more student mental health problems and possibly suicides. The last administration had our students mental health and wellbeing as an utmost priority.