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The Mirror

The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

Seven strikes, you’re out!

A glimpse at the attendance policy for seniors, and how they have been able to clear out their absences before graduation.
The dreaded orange slip informing seniors of their absences nevertheless offers a way to excuse some, if not all, of them; parents and students can sign the dotted line at the bottom and return it to the Attendance Office.

Our school’s attendance policy has taken the senior 2024 class by storm. It began when an orange paper was issued with information determining whether or not a student was eligible for senior events. This orange paper had the number of absences and tardies for each student. According to the policy, having more than seven full-day absences, or 42 period absences, makes you ineligible. 

The paper spread shock and fear amongst students, as the number of absences and tardies was put into perspective in bold font.

“After the orange slip was handed out, it really threw me off guard,” senior Christopher Monterrosa said. “As someone who’s constantly absent, I didn’t realize the extent to how far it went, but it was now finally being brought to me in a physical form.” 

There are three categories that you can be placed under. 

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“The district separates students’ attendance into different categories; it’s either excellent attendance, basic attendance or chronic absenteeism,” attendance counselor Mr. Reynoso said. 

The main focus was placed on seniors after a senior contract was given out stating that if you had more than seven full-day unexcused absences, you could not participate in events such as Prom. Attendance has become a big issue amongst students as many come to school late, or don’t show up at all. 

“We also added full-day absences and tardies because it’s a big issue at this school with students that come in in the middle of the day or miss certain periods to ditch,” Reynoso said. “We try to mitigate that.” 

For seniors, the number of absences and tardies per student seemed to be lower compared to the other grade levels in general. 

“The senior class, compared to the rest of the classes, generally tends to be better, ”Mr. Reynoso said. “It’s tied into two things; the maturity level, and the fact that they have much to lose.”  

However, despite numerous unexcused absences and tardies, there are still easy ways to become eligible for senior activities. Turning in a FAFSA application, signing into detentions and turning in the orange paper can all help excuse the absences. 

“Right now if students come in, we’re pretty much making deals with them,” Mr. Reynoso said. “At this point, we’re not trying to take everything away from the seniors. If students come in and talk to me, then we can make a deal with them.” 

However, the question is whether or not these attendance policies are truly making a difference in changing students’ habits of being absent from class or are just tedious assignments that don’t stop chronic absenteeism. 

“Specifically for seniors, I think it’s been pretty effective,” Mr. Reynoso said. “It’s not a fun way of enforcing attendance, but there’s been a clear increase in attendance and lowering of tardies since we gave out the orange slip in late February.”

Senior Christopher Monterrosa currently has 150-period absences and 25 full-day absences. According to the attendance policy provided by LAUSD, he is well over the seven-day limit. His opinion differs from this idea. 

“I think the orange slip really did help put it into perspective, but I didn’t understand how detention and FAFSA was supposed to decrease the number of absences,” Monterrosa said. “I know a lot of people, including me, who have a bad habit of coming to school late because I either feel sick in the morning or too tired, but detention and turning in stuff won’t help that.”

Although he continues to go to detentions and complete his FAFSA to clear his absences, he feels as though there must be a more productive and engaging way to help students not be labeled as “chronically absent.”

“There are probably more effective ways to really get students to start showing up more to class,” Mr. Reynoso said. “Even as a senior who has more to lose like Prom, I feel as though it’s too easily excused.”

However, Reynoso’s evidence shows that more students tend to be cautious of their absenteeism because of the tedious work and consequences that are attached to being eligible for senior events. 

After a student officially clears all their absences through serving detention after school, completing the FAFSA application and turning in the orange slip, as long as there’s not a significant dip in attendance, they are able to keep their eligibility status. 

“What I’m telling the seniors is that as long as there’s not a significant dip in the attendance,” said Mr. Reynoso. “So as long as you don’t go missing for a week or start ditching profusely, then you will remain eligible.”

The school’s attendance policy has been effective in allowing a student to easily excuse absences, and simultaneously push the student to not be late or absent as often.

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About the Contributor
Lindsay Han
Lindsay Han, Staff
Lindsay Han is the business/social media manager. She is a senior in her second year of journalism. Outside of doing journalistic duties, she enjoys shopping and listening to Lana Del Rey. She loves to drive around California with her friends and watches Netflix when she has the time. Currently, she is a volunteer at EnGin which teaches English to kids in Ukraine, is the Editor-in-Chief of yearbook and is also the President of the Senior Board. The only thing that Lindsay hates in this world is celery. After high school, Lindsay plans to attend college to pursue a career in law. 
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