As the end of the school year approaches, seniors struggle more and more to muster the mental will and physical strength to force themselves out of their beds. At Loy Norrix, the finish line is June 3rd. With hardly any time left, the symptoms of senioritis progress from sluggish behavior and tardies to organized truancy, more commonly referred to as “Senior Skip Day.”
Senior Skip Day, also known as Ditch Day or Cut Day, is a tradition found primarily in Canada and the United States. It’s unclear how it originated, but it has grown to be a common, even accepted, trend in some school districts. It generally takes place in the spring, as seniors approach graduation, or the day before significant events such as prom or holidays. While the idea of leaving school is always alluring, it’s important to be aware of the consequences for truancy.
Seniors are not exempt from the rules regarding absences, and S.S.D. is certainly no exception. To help dissuade students from skipping classes, teachers often assign tests that day, hand out additional homework, and may even offer extra credit to seniors that do attend.
In addition to the attempts of individual teachers, Loy Norrix has a strict attendance policy, stating that after you reach nine absences in any class an appeal must be submitted and accepted to receive credit for that course. However, this does not necessarily prevent skipping; as long as the student is under nine absences they can be truant without an official administrative penalty.
For states such as California, Kentucky, Idaho, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, Oregon, and Texas, funding is linked directly to attendance rather than enrollment in the school pressuring them to try more oppressive strategies to prevent students from skipping. At large high schools in these states, one skip day can cost the school $15,000 to $20,000 when approximately 25 percent of seniors do not attend. Due to these high potential losses, when administrators at La Jolla High School in California learn of a skip day, they do things like alert local authorities and ask that they investigate local coffee shops or restaurants for truant teens. They also call parents individually and request they do not permit their child to skip.
In Michigan, funding is based off of total enrollment, verified by set “count days” rather than day-by-day attendance. Kalamazoo Public Schools does not lose a significant amount of money from seniors skipping, so thankfully administrators do not go above and beyond to get seniors back in school, however, it is not to be mistaken as a recognized holiday.
“I do not approve of ‘Senior Skip Day’ or skipping classes period,” said Loy Norrix principal, Rodney Prewitt. “However, if you choose to participate in such an activity, I feel that it is important that you keep your parents informed so that they can be a support if an unexpected or unintended problem comes up.”
Stay in school, kids.