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Above, junior Hannah Taylor signs out of school at the Attendance Office. Aside from the fact that being absent from school can cause a student to fall behind, there are laws restricting how many days a student can miss school. At HSE, students are allowed to be absent eight days each semester, or sixteen days each school year. The students handbook outlines what is considered “excused” and “unexcused,” and students who are frequently absent can be referred to the dean for a conference. “If a student is absent more than [eight days in one semester] for medical reasons, we’ll work with that,” Pickell said. “But if you just think, ‘Eh, I don’t feel like going,’ get up, get something to eat. If you have a headache, take some Tylenol and get yourself out the door.”
Both male and female students are frequently sent to their dean because of dress code violations, especially at the beginning and end of the school year. Rules of thumb include that midriffs should be covered, straps should be wider than three fingers and hems should be longer than where the student’s fingertips reach. (Jackie Smith, a 2015 graduate, models a school-appropriate outfit in this photo.) Boys may not wear t-shirts with the sleeves cut off and arm openings reaching down to their waists. School administration stresses that, although there are guidelines, the dean has the final say in whether or not a student is dressed inappropriately. “You want to leave no question that someone would look at you and your countenance, and not be offended,” dean Jagga Rent said. “Don’t worry about the technicalities of if it’s long enough, but instead whether or not people would be offended by your dress, whether it’s a message on your shirt or the length. I tell kids, if you have a question about what you’re going to wear, don’t wear it. Or you can take a picture of yourself wearing the outfit at home and bring it in to show us, and we’ll say yes or no.”
Students who are not where they should be at a given time without a pass can be written up for being out of area. The first offense is punished with a detention, and after that, a student may be placed on pass restriction, which is when teachers are not allowed to write that student a pass without a dean’s consent. “Make sure you have a pass,” dean Laura Pickell said. “Most teachers write them, but some say, ‘Sure, go ahead!’ Make sure you have a paper pass or an aide badge—something that gives you permission to move around.”
With the “Bring Your Own Device” program beginning this year, some students may be more prone to being distracted by their electronics. Constant access to the Internet can also increase students’ chances of practicing poor digital citizenship, which is anything from starting online rumors about other students, to posting threats to the school on social media. These practices can lead to heated disputes between students, which can require the deans to interfere.“Social media plays a role in conflicts here,” Pickell said. “Don’t use social media to put anything out there that you wouldn’t tell your grandmother. Be careful with what you say; sometimes you can’t interpret what people are typing.”
Being consistently late to class—no matter what period of the day—can result in a detention or a visit to the dean’s office. This, of course, does not include tardies when a student has a pass from a teacher. “The longest walk in the building is about five and a half minutes,” assistant principal Charles Hoover said. “When I was a dean, I timed this walking through the halls during passing period with a student, at their pace. That will probably move to six minutes when we open the new part of the building. There are hundreds of students every year who are never late to class. During the first few days, figure out the best route to class and follow it. Plan to visit with your friends during lunch.”
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