No cap, don’t get trapped!

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No cap, don’t get trapped!

Sophia Palacios and Celeste Casella

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Teachers and administrators have had enough of students’ tardiness and absences. As a result, they have enforced new systems to try and resolve the issue.

New principal Kevin Wan put in his notion on the recurring issue regarding tardiness. 

“I can say it falls around the lack of personal responsibility. [The students are] not motivated and aren’t holding [themselves] accountable for getting to class on time,” Wan said. “other factors can be [students] wanting to continue to have a conversation with friends and perhaps a lack of really consistent consequence for not getting into class on time.”

In addition to the lack of personal responsibility, a long-time history teacher, Genice Weathers, suggested multiple reasons for this issue.

“They’re visiting with their friends in the hallway or in the bathroom,” Weathers said. “By the bathrooms, normally, is where they congregate.” 

From an experienced but fresh viewpoint, Wan explained how he sees the importance of time in class.

“Tardies are taken very seriously because it’s a habit. It’s something that we try to instill in students with our PRIDE; it’s part of personal responsibility. It’s part of respect and it’s part of excellence,” Wan said. “So, if they’re arriving late, they’re not only disrespecting the teacher or their classmates but more importantly, they’re also disrespecting themselves because they’re taking away that time that they can be learning.”

There has been some confusion about the things you might come across in a TRAP room. Wan clarified as to what happens when someone is “trapped.”

“If you happen to be tardy to class, [TRAP is] an opportunity for the student to be able to meet with their academic counselor and go over their transcript, go over high school graduation requirements, and kind of just get an idea of what they need to do to be on track to graduate,” Wan said. “ It’s also an opportunity to remind them of the ramifications if tardies continue to accumulate. [They can meet with] the new attendance liaison where they review truancy and their tardies. And then, of course, there’s an academic assignment so that they’re not just sitting there doing nothing. It’s very structured. It’s not a study hall.”

Sophomore Megan Graham has been seeing changes in the flow and movement in the halls during passing periods. 

“I think that the staff is trying to help that,” Graham said. “because now I see when the bell is ringing Ms. Butler or some of the other staff are telling people to get to class and was breaking up the groups so that they can go to class.

Sophomore Keven Perez unfolded his experience with being TRAPped and what happened inside. 

“[We do] boring stuff—well, if you have nothing to do, they give you a packet, and they don’t even grade it,” Perez said. “They don’t give you credit for it. So that was kind of like, ‘Why am I doing pointless work?’ But I think this system, this thing that they’re doing is working.”

Dibble then mentions how effective the rule has actually been and even accepts the possibility that sometimes the reason kids are late is out of their control, but also adds that there are times when students’ attendance is completely dependent on themselves.

“I feel like more students are paying attention to getting here on time. In the classes in the morning, I don’t know if it really makes that much [of a] difference because I feel like the reason that they’re tardy in the morning is sometimes out of their control. But in the later periods, they have control over [their attendance] and I feel like that’s when I see the biggest differences,” Dibble said.

Within the first week of implementing “TRAP,” significant results have been seen. Wan provided details about the changes in student attendance. 

“Between three weeks ago, and last week, there’s been a 76% reduction in the number of students that are tardy each week,” Wan said. “So we had about 101 students that were tardy three weeks ago. Last week, there were 24 students who were tardy. The largest [number of students in TRAP] we’ve had so far has been just under 20 students. Last week, I think our largest [was] 19. So we’re not seeing a massive number [of tardies] since we’ve now implemented it.”

Recently, there was a period where 0 people were “trapped”. Wan feels that if attendance continues to improve, the administration will be able to start lessening the number of tardy sweeps or TRAP periods that occur. 

“The whole goal, from our perspective, is to hold the students accountable because the students weren’t being personally responsible for getting the class on time,” Wan said. “As we started to see, the students now are changing their frame of mind and really have taken on the importance of getting the class on time, then we don’t necessarily need to continue to implement TRAP. Our goal certainly is to eventually remove the TRAP, and students will be able to get to class on their own.”

When asked if he has received any critical feedback so far regarding TRAP, Wan had a quick response.  

“I haven’t had any negative feedback on TRAP, meaning I haven’t had students come up to me that they are against TRAP.”