Abolish Late Slips

I check my phone as I rush into school. 8:30 a.m. stares back at me on the screen. Technically, I did arrive at school on time, but because the parking lot was full, I had to park in the Dahl Playfield lot. Regardless, I’m only five minutes late, which means I’m probably not going to miss any important learning time due to my parking delays. However, once I slip into my first-period math class, I am forced to go get a late slip. With a sigh, I trudge all the way from the classroom building, through the bitter cold outside and finally into the main office. Once I get there I have to wait in line behind several other students facing the same dilemma. By the time I have signed my name and received that dreadful pink slip it is 8:37 a.m. meaning I have now missed a good 12 minutes of class. Even if you went straight to the main office, you’re still wasting at least a couple of minutes, having to wait behind the student que, fill out your first and last name and think of a valid excuse to justify your tardy arrival.
This is one of the many reasons for why University Prep should stop requiring students to get late slips. As my morning experience illustrates, the whole concept of a late slip is ridiculously antithetical to the very purpose they are supposed to fulfill. They literally make students MORE late. By requiring kids to go get a slip of paper from the main office, the school is causing us to miss out on even more valuable class time than they already would have. What if a student had a test or seminar during their first-period class? Should we really force them to jeopardize their grade in the class simply for reaching school at 8:27?
Late slips also do absolutely nothing to reduce the tardiness of students. A simple pink slip cannot magically force students to come to school early, especially those of us suffering from a severe case of senioritis. Chances are that most students are willing to sacrifice a trip to the main office for a few more minutes of sleep. If these slips can’t even increase the number of students arriving on time, then why do we use them?
There are a variety of different reasons why a student might not be able to get to class exactly at 8:25. In addition to parking challenges, maybe their bus route or parents’ work schedules do not align, they have siblings to take care of or they were taking care of a baby raccoon (yes, this actually happened). So instead of a pointless pink square, the school should work to make sure each student has the resources they need in order to not miss out on their learning. And if it’s not a matter of resources, there are steps the UPrep community can take to encourage early arrivals. For example, teachers can give extra credit to students who arrive more than five minutes early, award prizes for whoever gets there first or make a game out of it. UPrep can use positive reinforcement to encourage exemplary behavior in a way that benefits both students and teachers.