After a long-earned break, students like myself at Cleveland High School returned to a new tardy policy. The policy makes clear if students are late to class, they will be collected by security and taken to the In-School Suspension or ISS room. However, in a January 10th email to staff and a January 11th announcement, Principal V. Scott Affentranger dubbed it the “Storm Cellar”; as if the school did not feel like enough of a prison.

However “well-intentioned” the policy is construed to be, the reality is that it causes more issues than solutions. In the weeks or days to come, there may be a nominal reduction in tardies. However, there will surely be an increase in unexcused absences. Students will quickly realize why spend a period in the “Storm Cellar” when you can skip class and avoid a referral altogether.

I am not advocating for students skipping class, but just pointing out what everyone already knows–the policy is antiquated, overly punitive, and ineffective. In the aftermath of COVID learning loss, it should be the goal of administrators and school districts to do their best to maximize instructional time and not reduce it.

Ivan Torres

Rio Rancho