LHS late arrival system should mirror Free State’s

By Emily Donnell, Arts and Entertainment Editor

   Each month, every student at Lawrence High can arrive to school an hour and a half late. This is known as late arrival, but Lawrence High only receives this once a month. However, Free State is blessed with late arrival every week, which to some people does not seem anywhere near fair.

   Free State has had late arrival every Wednesday for the past three years, but this year, it has been extended to 9:35 a.m from 9 a.m.. They have an optional seminar during late arrival for students who need additional help, or for those who have to make up assignments.

   Free State junior Natalie Edmondson said no one really goes to seminar on late arrival days.      On Wednesdays at Free State, students attend three classes for 85 minutes each; the only exception for late arrival days at Free State is on a less than five-day school week, just as for LHS. However, Lawrence High receives 10 late arrivals in one school year, while Free State gets 27 total.

   Edmondson said it makes all the difference to her on late arrival days; she feels rested and much more attentive during her classes. On the other hand, senior LHS student Seth Dirks-Ham says it makes no sense to him why Free State students get to sleep in every Wednesday and why LHS students do not. Dirks-Ham feels like he would be much more attentive in class if he got to sleep an extra hour and a half every week like Free State gets to.

   Free State’s Principal Ed West said the district-level administration has been supportive of each school in the district advocating for that school’s individual needs. Free State’s staff developed a schedule through a committee that studied their schedule (including seminar) throughout last year.

   Lawrence High assistant principal Jan Leonard said it is not a matter of eligibility but a state-based decision and that LHS chooses to have more seminar time. Leonard said it was not a question of fairness, but the decision Free State has made as to how they choose to run their own building.

   How is it possible that LHS and Free State go to school the same amount of hours?  The answer from West is, schools are required by state statute to be in session for 1,116 hours per school year (1,080 hours for seniors). The time in parent-teacher conferences count 100 percent toward total hours, while time in staff development activities count as 50 percent toward the total hours required. Free State can use seminar before late arrival as staff development (50 percent toward total hours) causing Lawrence High students to be in school more hours than Free State’s. However, both schools exceed the state requirement. West agrees with a majority of Free State students saying it does benefit them. Overall, each school’s schedule is designed for its own academic achievement desired. Edmondson did admit that in a seminar she actually does complete her homework, and that she is not as motivated to work while outside of the classroom. Dirks-Ham said even though he wishes he could have late arrival every Wednesday, he does get a lot of homework done, but his wish of having late arrival every Wednesday is a lot more dominant.

   There is no reason why Lawrence High cannot have late arrival every Wednesday, just as Free State does. The freedom of choice is there, but the decision is based on what is best for our school’s needs. Lawrence High should implement the same seminar schedule as Free State.