Cutting with Consequences


Damein Wiliams

Photo Illustration: Franklin Learning Center student skipping class

Anthony Guidice, Assistant Principal at Franklin Learning Center, sent out a Google Classroom message on February 8th for all graduating classes informing students of the consequences for cutting class. 

The statement reads as follows: “Due to increased class cuts, we have determined that students require a consequence for cutting classes. Beginning Monday, February 14th, we will run the class cut report daily. If your name appears on this report, you WILL be assigned  an after school detention from 3:00 – 4:00 with administration in the cafeteria. YOU WILL BE INFORMED ABOUT YOUR DETENTION THROUGH YOUR SCHOOL DISTRICT EMAIL.”

Many FLC students are frustrated about the new policy. While a significant percentage of FLC students agree with the new policy, a survey of current students conducted by The Flash reveals that 64% are opposed. 

Despite the opposition, though, the FLC administration still sees the policy as a way to improve conditions in the school. 

“We have lost more and more teachers,” Guidice said, “and losing teachers, we have substitutes and other people covering the class, and when the assigned teacher is no longer there, students tend not to go to their class. As a result, we have an increase of students walking the halls and an increase of instances such as fights and things that are inappropriate to go on in this school building. So, as an administrator, it’s incumbent upon me and the rest of the administrative team to come up with plans, even if they’re late in the year.”

Seniors expressed their displeasure with the new plans at a March 8th town hall meeting in the auditorium. At the meeting, Principal Nicole Lee announced that students who miss their advisory period will be marked as cutting, a decision that will impact Seniors’ eligibility for prom and also the number of tickets students will receive for their graduation ceremony. 

Students at that meeting immediately raised their hands to bring up the unreliability of SEPTA’s buses and trains, as well as a list of other reasons a student might be legitimately late.

Getting punished with a detention should only happen when a student skips full instructional class periods, not when they come into school late after an advisory. Lateness should be punishable depending on frequency. Latenesses, the ones due to public transportation, should not be punished as it’s out of the students’ hands. 

However, it is fair that those students who consistently arrive late to school, missing class time, should receive consequences as it seems to be a regular thing for them. 

Discipline is needed in the school, especially because cutting classes is not fair to the teachers who are expecting their students to show up and learn. The new policy would be a good way to control students’ attendance levels if it took into consideration that not every student goes out of their way to be late.

When asked about students’ concerns about getting detention for missing advisory, Guidice had a different answer than Principal Lee.

“Advisory is not being counted as a cut when I run my cut report,” Guidice said. “I remove any homeroom cut off of the list.”

Here’s the problem with being a student at FLC right now: it feels like one person is telling us one thing and another person is telling us another thing. Communication is rare and clear communication is even rarer. Policies are unveiled with short notice and information is often only shared once via loudspeaker or Google Classroom. The school lacks the ability to communicate clearly with its students, leaving us frustrated and confused. 

The idea of a detention policy is not the problem. Some students are excited to imagine calm hallways and a lack of screams and distractions. But no policy can succeed without clear communication. This is why the administration should hold off on new punishments until they have issued clear communication to students and staff on exactly what the policy for those punishments will be.

Photo Illustration: Students cutting class has become a problem this year (Tiffany Rodriguez)