It’s So Hard to Say “Goodbye”
August 31, 2018
When most Fluvanna students started the new school year, they probably thought the hardest part of school would be waking up on time.
They had no idea it might actually be leaving early.
The new early dismissal policy this year states that students have to bring in a note by 10:00 am in order to leave early that day. Parents and guardians can no longer just call in whenever they want and expect to pick up their child ten minutes later. This new policy has caused a lot of consternation among students and parents because it requires so much more planning.
Many students disagree with the new early dismissal policy, but the school administrators think it is working well. FCHS Principal Margo Bruce recently commented on the pros of the new policy. “During the spring last year, it was very chaotic in the main office. There were parents calling in all day long. We were wondering how to alter this situation to make it better. The elementary schools and middle school had the [new] policy first, so we decided to change from old school to modern school,” said Bruce.
FCHS Office Manager Margie Brown came up with this idea after noticing that the office aides were running to and from classes to drop off early release passes every five minutes. While some requests for early dismissal were based on real needs, quite a few appeared to be for unnecessary reasons, such as a student calling a parent to pick them up because they just felt like leaving early, or a driving senior wanting to get home earlier.
By limiting early dismissals to those with advanced planning, said Brown, the new policy “cuts back on the number of phone calls and people leaving throughout the day.”
One concern students had with the new policy was that they felt it would not accommodate students who had a legitimate reason for making a last-minute request to leave early, such as a last minute doctor appointment. However, administrators say that the new policy takes such emergencies into account.
While many students say they are unhappy with the new policy, other say it doesn’t bother them. “I don’t really mind it. It doesn’t phase me,” said junior Kevin Ward. Others think the new policy has its merits but needs a little tweaking, such as senior Alexus Campbell who thinks they should extend the cut off time for accepting dismissal calls. “The Attendance Office should be more lenient and accept calls until 11:30 or 12:00,” Campbell said.
Then there are those students who feel the policy is ridiculous. “It’s absurd. You should be able to leave with parent permission,” said senior Caroline Haislip. “If you have permission by a parent or guardian, then you should be able to leave,” said sophomore Lauren Davis.
So while many students dislike the policy, it is unlikely to change as long as administrators and staff feel positively about it. “I think it is working well [and that] there are fewer students with unexcused absences. [The policy] should be kept,” said Attendance Officer Leigh Haden.