Throughout our time as students in high school and college, we’ve all seen students get up to leave class for different reasons.
They’re sick, they’re bored, they have a family emergency that needs handling. But there’s one common reason teachers will excuse a student for leaving their class early.
“I have a _______ game to get to.”
It doesn’t matter the sport, fill in the blank with them all, and the result is still the same.
“Good luck at your game. Be sure to get the homework done.”
The process of student athletes leaving their class early for their games has become normal, but leaves the rest of students with other co-curricular obligations, including club activities, off the list for excused absences.
This treatment is completely unfair to students performing in theatre productions or taking part in a campus club, as meetings can get in the way of some of their classes.
Now, El Camino is currently in the process of amending this tradition thanks to our new athletic director, Colin Preston, who suggested the idea to the Academic Senate.
Preston, who brought the idea of a revised attendance policy to the Academic Senate, wants to ensure that teachers and student athletes are on the same page for the whole semester when it comes to games and their interference with classes.
Now while his hopes for the new program want to make it easier on student athletes, Academic Senate Co-President Chris Jeffries looks to ensure the program helps students involved in other co-curricular activities to be excused from missing class.
“Academic Senate would like to expand it to other areas, besides athletics,” Jeffries said. “Anybody who is, say, on the debate team, or the forensic team or the theatre productions, even associated student body who has to miss maybe because of a conference they’re going to. So anything that’s involving representing yourself for the college.”
Now, this is definitely a step in the right direction, offering more students in various clubs the privilege to miss class for their conference or productions, as long as they are representing the school.
But even this isn’t fair to students who have legitimate reasons for missing class that don’t relate to co-curricular activities.
Many students have jobs that may conflict with their classes, or kids that need tending to.
So how is it fair that these students don’t get excused from class when, say, their kid gets sick and they can’t find someone to watch them, or their job needs them to work that day or they will be fired?
If there is going to be preferential treatment for students, it needs to be fair and apply to everyone.
The way teachers handle “excused” absences, and the way El Camino’s policies restrict them from being lenient, needs to be adjusted to show more understanding for students who have unavoidable circumstances.
If we want to be a fair campus, we need to expand excused absences for all, or not have them at all.