New High School Principal Suspends Half of Her Students — Here’s the Surprising Reason Why

New High School Principal Suspends Half of Her Students — Here’s the Surprising Reason Why

Watch out folks, a new Principal is in town and she’s not taking any crap from anybody! As a matter of fact she slapped suspension notices on nearly half the student population at Harrisburg High School this week and the reason why doesn’t sound so crazy.

It seems that the students had racked up too many unexcused absences, so school officials handed out suspension notices to 500 students on Monday. Principal Lisa Love has decided to crackdown on the 1,100 students that are enrolled at the school.

About 100 students served one-day suspensions on Tuesday as punishment, but the disciplinary fates of the other students remain unknown as school officials continue to work with parents to confirm whether some of the absences were excused. School officials have explained that some parents were able to provide documentation to clear up their students’ records.

School officials met with parents en masse after school Wednesday to explain the new expectations at the school, which has long struggled with poor test scores and a low graduation rate. Before the parent meeting, school officials met with reporters to talk about their strategies for tardiness and truancy to improve the atmosphere at the school.

The school’s NEW tough stance against tardiness and unexcused absences was instigated by the new principal who said she could not improve academic achievement there if students don’t show up.

The problem I’ve noticed here as principal is that students are coming to school but they are not going to classes when they get here,” said Love, who began leading the school at the end of January. “Many parents send their kids to school and they’re thinking they’re going to class. I needed to reach out because of the enormous number not going to class.”

Instead of reporting to class, students congregate in hallways, restrooms, gymnasiums and other nooks and corners of the expansive school building, Love said.

Love said she needed to do something “radical” to get the attention of students, parents and the community.

“If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here,” she said. “And that’s to focus on student achievement.”

Of course there were whiny parents who said, “What does that teach them?” and “They’ve got senior projects to do.” I would say she had reason to be upset if her daughter was innocent, but assistant Principal Keith Edmonds said they drew the line for excessive absences for students who missed at least 35 classes in the last marking period without providing proper documentation. Each marking period covers 45 days, or nine weeks. The number of missed-classes that triggered the suspension notice amounts to a week’s worth of unexcused absences, since students have seven classes each day. THAT’S a whole lotta days absent from work if she were in the workforce.

School administration made a list of 540 names, keeping special education students on a separate list. Officials were able to notify parents of about 500 students. Word spread quickly and parents of course hurried to school to provide proper documentation so their child could avoid the suspension penalty.

Moving forward, students who continue to rack up unexcused absences will miss prom or graduation ceremonies. Do you think what Principal Love did was the right move?

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