Sitting in on good standing

New policy affects student admittance to school dances

Molly Murch, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Just as students are beginning to drown in homework, wishing they could return to a blissful summer vacation, Homecoming arrives, offering a much-needed break. However, for some students, this night may no longer be in their future.

The yearly handbook talk, typically a simple reiteration of tacit expectations, introduced a recent addition this year: the ‘Good Standing’ Policy. 

Designed to improve student attendance and academic success, this policy mandates that in order for a student to attend Homecoming or Prom, they must pass at least four classes, be absent for no more than 10% of school days, and have fewer than ten tardies at the time of the event. 

With the number of chronically tardy or absent students remaining alarmingly high, active engagement in class is crucial. In fact, English teacher Mike McCauley believes that attendance and performance are closely correlated.

“There’s a strong connection between students that are frequently absent or tardy and succeeding. It’s hard for students to be motivated once they’ve missed so much, and they feel they have so much to catch up on,” McCauley said.

However, junior Brandon Stroyek disagrees, claiming that the policy is unreasonable, as many students face extraneous issues that may hinder their attendance. 

“If it’s not their fault that they’re tardy, then I don’t think it’s right. Some people might not have cars or they can’t get there on time because their mom is not reliable,” Stroyek said.

While the formality of the policy may catch some off-guard, Assistant Principal Casey Lundgren explains that these standards have been in place since MN’s beginning. The manner in which the administration is holding students accountable to such standards is simply evolving. 

“We’ve had [these expectations] for as long as MN has been a school. Those expectations haven’t changed. What has changed is that we’re tying a really tangible thing, that students enjoy, to those expectations,” Lundgren said.

Stroyek, on the other hand, doesn’t support putting Homecoming or Prom, events which he believes to be rights, at stake for students.  

“I don’t think there should be requirements to go to Homecoming. Do you need requirements to go to a carnival?” Stroyek said. 

We are just over a month into the first semester of school, and only time will tell of the policy’s success, but the staff is already optimistic about its efficacy. In fact, social studies department head David Diehl believes similar strategies have proven productive in the past.

“History has shown that if you take away privileges or have consequences for undesirable actions, then that typically works,” Diehl said. 

Junior Michael West seconds this argument, stating that what he once felt was excessive, he now believes to be an effective motivator.

“[My initial impression was that] it was kind of exaggerated, but thinking about it  now, it kind of makes sense for the kids who don’t pay attention. They shouldn’t deserve to go to stuff like that,” West said.

While the administration hopes that the policy resonates with students, they also believe that it should not impact many, as it targets only those that are chronically tardy or absent. Students are already expected to uphold the standards included, but regardless of however many take it to heart, it will have been worth it if even a couple take action. 

“My expectation is that very few students will be affected by this, but if it is an extra motivator for a small handful of kids, then I think it’s effective,” Diehl said. 

Ultimately, the ‘Good Standing’ policy acts as a bridge between students and their success. Should they need extra motivation, it appears as something enjoyable and accessible. All it requires is attendance and effort.