The Art of the Tardy Sweep

Does the implementation of tardy sweeps get the results that are intended?

Dustin Ryza, Staff Writer

STOCKTON: As the first semester and the year 2021 came to a close, Lincoln High School students had racked up over 18,000 tardies in just one semester. That is a ton of students wandering about outside of classrooms where quality instruction is supposed to be taking place. Obviously, there needed to be a behavior change, so the Lincoln administrative team brought back the tardy sweep program.

A tardy sweep begins with an announcement from the front office over the school’s PA system warning students that a tardy sweep is in progress. Teachers are asked to lock doors as the offenders are rounded up, collected, and taken to the lecture hall for processing. Inside the lecture hall, tardy students are lectured, given a detention, and then sent immediately back to class. A tardy sweep concludes with one final PA announcement asking teachers to unlock their doors and admit any late student into class.

In order to completely understand why having a tardy sweep program is necessary, it’s important to understand the effect being tardy has on its students. Perform Well, a nonprofit research and educational organization, has found that being frequently tardy has been directly linked with lower standardized test scores, lower grades, and lower graduation rates. Director Rachel Pancare suggests that when a student is constantly late, the student is not learning how to be responsible. A tardy student causes disrupted classroom routines and can cause the student to be criticized by classmates for constantly causing such disruptions in class.

With this information in mind, our Vice Principal, Mr. Hancock, was asked about the purpose of having the tardy sweeps. Mr. Hancock responded by saying, “ Learning is the primary goal at Lincoln. We value learning and want students and teachers to have maximum time dedicated to education during classes.” According to Mr. Hancock, the newly implemented tardy sweep program is working. “We are on target to have a significant reduction in tardies during the second semester,” said Hancock. “Our data shows a decreased number of students tardy since we first initiated the sweeps.” Tardy sweeps will be in effect for the remainder of the second semester in the hopes of keeping the number of tardy students to a minimum.

When junior Moneysha Curry was asked about the new tardy sweep program, she said, “Tardy sweeps, in my opinion, seem to be a waste of time that is not efficiently solving the problem of students being late to class. Since the beginning of the tardy sweep process, I have not seen a dramatic drop in tardies.” Mr. Rivera, a 10 th and 11th grade English teacher, sees the tardy situation through the lens of a faculty member. “I think using tardy sweeps to build urgency into our students is a good thing,” said Rivera. “I can’t conduct class in a professional manner when students arrive five to 10 minutes after the bell and enter the room like they are campaigning for public office.”

The overall consensus about the tardy sweep program is largely positive because the program has helped students get to class on time and minimize classroom disruptions. Teenagers in general are not fond of being told what to do, but hopefully a semester of running to class will finally get my fellow Trojans to understand how important respecting time is to their social and academic development.