Are Senior Exemptions Worth Sickness

As the flu and winter colds come around, seniors are faced with an important decision: whether to stay home and recover and lose their exemptions, or come to school, keep their exemptions, and risk spreading their disease.

Every student has their school’s exam exemptions policy memorized. At Leesville, underclassmen watch seniors walk out the door without taking their end-of-year tests. Leesville’s policy applies only to seniors with the following grade/attendance correlation:

-an A and 3 or fewer excused absences

-a B and 2 or fewer excused absences

-a C and 1 excused or no absences

-no unexcused absences

Other schools in the CAP-8, such as Wakefield, have final exemptions for all grades. Some private schools, like North Raleigh Christian Academy, give exam exemptions to anyone with an A in the class.

The importance of exam exemptions cannot be overstated, especially to a lazy, procrastination-ridden second-semester senior. Nobody wants to take exams in the first place, and someone who has already decided on their future after high school has even less motivation.

Admittedly, the idea of absence-based exemptions is pure at heart. It offers second-semester seniors a quid-pro-quo: If you attend school and take your classes seriously, teachers will exempt you from exams. However, it creates an interesting pressure on seniors to attend school–even if they are sick.

Many seniors have woken up in the morning, known they are sick, and then slogged through the school day in order to avoid the absence being counted against them. This presents multiple problems, the most serious of which being the disease spreading throughout the school.

Scott Culbreth, a senior at Leesville, feels the pressure of coming to school while sick.

“If I was sick, I definitely wouldn’t be staying home,” said Culbreth. “I think [seniors] feel forced to come to school anyways.”

Ideally, students could provide some form of proof that they were truly sick in exchange for the absence not counting against their exemptions. This prevents students from claiming they were sick in order to skip school and not lose exemptions.

Additionally, this would relieve the pressure of coming to school while sick, which could stop the spread of germs and bacteria throughout the school.


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