Extra senior skip day draws warning

Lindsay Bonetti and Victoria Di Cesare

An impromptu “senior skip day” on Friday has drawn a warning from administrators that social probation still exists for students with excessive absences.

Senior skip day traditionally has been a one-time event held in the second half of the school year. A few years ago, several senior classes attempted a second skip day, but participation was low.

On Friday, however, many seniors did not come to school, with senior classrooms frequently having only a few students in them. Some seniors also said they plan on holding several more skip days throughout the year.

Seniors who did come to school on Friday noticed the absence of their peers.

“This is the biggest class I’ve had all day,” senior Hannah Stock said while sitting in her English class, which had nine students present. 

Some seniors said they participated in the skip day because they believed that social probation — in which students with excessive absences cannot attend school activities such as prom — had been eliminated this school year. 

The student handbook, however, still says that “students can be placed on social probation as a result of attendance.”

According to district policy, students are allowed to have up to 10 excuses signed by a parent for the entire year. After that, excuses must be from a medical practitioner. Not having a medical excuse after that point constitutes a “level two” disciplinary offense. 

Level two punishments can include a Saturday detention, which also would prohibit students from participating in extracurricular activities, such as dances, athletics, and other school events, for a week, Principal Shaun Tomaszewski said in a Skyblast email to students and parents. 

In an interview today, Tomaszewski cautioned seniors who plan on going to prom and who also choose to participate in skip days. 

“I worry about students who miss a couple days in the fall and the spring, and then come prom season (what if) they can’t get a medical excuse if they exceed the 10-day limit,” Tomaszewski said.

If the number of senior skip days reaches an unacceptable level, further attendance action could be taken, including involving the school’s police officer and director of safety and security.

“I could deploy Officer (Dave) Artman or Mr. (Bill) Cottington to Eat’N Park, and the excuse of any student seen there will be null and void,” Tomaszewski said. “If you’re well enough to be at Eat’N Park, you’re well enough to be at school.”

“Senior skip day is a tradition that I respect,” Tomaszweski said. “But excuses have to be legitimate and I will make no exceptions for any student who has exceeded the numbers of days given.”

Seniors who skipped on Friday said they enjoyed not having to wake up early, but some were underwhelmed with the event. 

“I woke up at first but then decided to go back to bed and sleep in late,” one senior, who wanted to remain anonymous, said. 

Another student who skipped was not enthusiastic about the day.

“I went to Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning like always, then I went to Chick-fil-A,” the student said. “I honestly wish I would have come to school instead of skipping because I was bored with the rest of my day.”