Tardy sweeps keep students on their toes

Stella Alexandropoulos, Sectional Editor

When junior Belma Spahic entered school on the morning of Dec. 13, she was brought to a halt. 

“I got stopped on my way to first period because my bus was late,” Spahic said. “When they were done speaking to me I was already even more late to my study hall.”

Spahic was caught in a tardy sweep. A tardy sweep occurs when teachers lock their doors after the bell rings, and the students remaining in the hallways are marked tardy. They are “swept” and have a conversation with the division heads for student success, safety, and wellness (DHSSSWs) about why they were tardy at that particular time.

The tardy sweeps have received mixed reactions, with some students arguing that they are initiated at inconvenient times (like first block) or with excusable reasons for being tardy, such as a late bus.

Steven Lesniak and Rebecca Schilz said that the tardy sweeps are not meant to be ways to trap students.

“It’s not so much meant to be an ‘Oh, we caught you,’ and get you in trouble,” Lesniak said. “We just want students to get to class on time.”

Lesniak said that the tardy sweeps are something he, Schilz and other staff members have talked about enforcing before. 

“One of the biggest frustrations as a former teacher myself is when students arrive late,” Lesniak said. “It disrupts the class and the teachers have to repeat the lesson that they just explained to the other students.”

Junior Andrea Reyes said she doesn’t believe that it’s as bad as teachers make it seem.

“I don’t think that walking into school late is a huge disruption to kids in class,” Reyes said. “If anything, I think it’s disrupting my own time because I am being pulled out of my class just to be talked to and given a warning.”

A big reason why the sweeps were instilled was to cut down on students hanging out in the hallways, waiting until the bell rings and then walking to class after the bell. A tardy sweep is not an immediate demerit on a student’s record.

“If you get caught in a tardy sweep it doesn’t mean you automatically get a detention,” Lesniak said. 

In fact, the sweep gives the student a chance to explain why they were late. For instance, if a student’s bus was late or a teacher forgot to write them a pass, the tardy would be excused. The point of tardy sweeps is to make a change in the attitudes about getting to class. Zero tardies is not the goal, and according to Lesniak, data shows that the sweeps have worked and are making a difference. 

“We don’t think this is a long-term solution,” Lesniak said. “We just want to change behavior when behavior needs to be changed.”

So far there have been four tardy sweeps during the first semester of the 2022-23 school year. Some students are skeptical about the shelf life of doing the sweeps, as many kids who get swept up don’t deserve the conversation in the first place.

“There are kids who don’t fool around and are simply just late to class,” Spahic said. “It’s mostly the same kids that are always skipping class. Otherwise a lot of kids get on time to their classes.”

As of the start of February, there hasn’t been a tardy sweep since December. 

“When Mrs. Schilz and I see students hustling to class because they don’t want to get tardy, that’s what we want to see,” Lesniak said.