Fort Dorchester high school rolls out aggressive new tardy policy

VIDEO: Fort Dorchester high school rolls out aggressive new tardy policy

NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - A North Charleston high school announced that they will be making some aggressive changes to their tardy policy beginning the week after Thanksgiving. The principal says he hopes these changes won’t just help students be on time but learn a valuable lesson as well.

Fort Dorchester High School is going to be implementing stern measures to make sure students know they will now be punished for tardiness instead of receiving several verbal warnings like before. In the old policy, students could be late over five times and only receive a warning. After several warnings, students could be sent to detention during the class period they were often late to. After several detentions, outside of school suspension would then be issued. The student would miss an entire school day as punishment for being late to class.

Principal Tripp Aldredge says not only was that policy no longer working well in Fort Dorchester High School, but it didn’t make much sense. He says that keeping a student out of school for an entire day doesn’t seem like the answer since they need to be in school learning.

The new set of tardy rules taking effect on Monday November 26 “will be much stricter than before,” according to the principal. A student can be late twice and receive a verbal warning both times. On the third tardy, the student will have to serve “time for time.” If a student is 15 minutes or less late to school, they will have to serve 15 minutes detention during their hour-long “Individual Learning Time,” also known as “ILT,” to make up for the time lost. If the student is between 15-30 minutes late, they will serve 30 minutes in detention during ILT. Anything more than that, Aldredge says would be up for discussion.

Aldredge says this policy will hopefully not only make students on time but teach them a valuable life lesson. He says that this will help students understand how to correctly participate in the workforce.

“This is an important skill for students to learn, when you get a job if you’re late you’re late, if there’s traffic, you’re still late to work. After being late so many times you may not have a job anymore,” Aldredge says.

Parents say that they agree that students should be held strictly accountable or the student may never learn.

“This will be a reinforcement because one time and you’re done instead of allowing laziness and tardiness to keep happening, when you have a real job its three marks and you’re gone so it gets them ready,” Fort Dorchester parent, Renee Carter, says.

A student says she is nervous about the change but knows it will help her in the long run.

“It will create a sense of responsibility, it will create a sense of being on time, it’s important you shouldn’t play with that, in jobs and interviews and the real world you have to be responsible,” Enitte Soto says.

Aldredge says he’s talked to other DD2 administrators who say if this aggressive policy works here, they may adopt the rules too.

The school district says they fully support the aggressive changes to the policy and hopes they work well for the school and students.

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