Tardies: Should Students Be Excused for Morning Athletic Practices?

The Leesville Road High School attendance office. (photo courtesy of Asis Johnson)

Students who play sports and have morning practices as a part of their athletic schedule are penalized for being late to school after their morning practices. Should athletes be excused for the inconvenience of morning practices?

I am a swimmer for a swim team located in Cary, North Carolina. Cary is exactly 12.1 miles away from North Raleigh, where Leesville High is located. This distance would take about 22 minutes to cover in a car; it will take close to 30 minutes considering traffic.

Wake County Public Schools do not consider morning practices as an excused tardy. When you consider the time it takes to drive from your athletic facility to your school, and the time it takes to prepare for school, arriving to school on time is an absolute struggle. “After practice getting into the locker room to get changed, coaches talking to you–taking time, showers, making sure all practice gear is ready for the next day, etc. [can be stressful]” said Lorena Rivera—a sophomore at Leesville Road High who attends morning practices for her club cheer squad (via text).

Most adults have the mindset of preparing for school the night before a morning practice if you can’t handle doing it in the morning. “It’s already hard enough getting in the routine of waking up for school and being to class at 7:25. Especially if you have an early morning practice — you have to worry about bringing the correct bathing utensils to smell good for the rest of the day. Which includes a clean towel and washcloth, soap, deodorant etc. It’s way too much you have to worry about in a short period of time. People with practices in the morning should have extended time to make sure they freshen up for the remainder of the day,” said Amaya Sharrieff—a sophomore at Leesville Road High who attends morning practices for her club track and field team (via text).

Even if you were to prepare for school the night before a morning practice, cutting it close to when you need to be at school, is an understatement.

If you are a dedicated athlete, you would be willing to do what it takes to be the best athlete you can be. For some students who are athletes, practicing as much as possible is included in getting better at your sport. If morning practices are necessary to get in all the practice time you can, an athlete will arrive ready to go for practice.

However, these issues do not only apply to only athletes. There are hundreds of students in the WCPSS that are apart of other extracurricular activities that have a tight schedule. This includes band students, drama students, students that work late jobs etc. They all should be considered when coming to the conclusion that WCPSS needs to rewrite the policies on being late to school.

Some students may take advantage of excused tardies for extracurriculars, which is why there could be additional rules added to rewritten tardy policies. The policy doesn’t exist at all which is unfair to several students. “I don’t think it is fair. Students can not control if practice times rollover,” said Alyssa Sohn–a sophomore at Leesville High who attends morning practices for her club track and field team (via text).

WCPSS could create a verifying policy, where students must verify that they were attending an extracurricular activity with a note, email, or other forms of verification from their coach, boss, teacher etc. They could also include a makeup work policy where students would have to finish missed work at SMART lunch or another time the teacher can provide to the student to finish their missed work.


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