Current policy can prohibit involvement in extra curriculars and retreats
Joe Skoog ’13
I’ll be honest: I miss a lot of school.
Because I do policy debate as part of the Speech and Debate team, and because the tournament schedule is rigorous, my teammates and I must travel to many tournaments in different states across the country.
However, our excused absence policy puts a strain on my ability to continue to debate on a national level, at least if I want to participate in other activities.
According to the disciplinary handbook, “Brophy considers more than six personal excused absences or three unexcused absences per semester excessive. A student who misses more than six periods for a particular class because of non-school related activities, or a total of 10 absences for any reason (including Brophy-related activities) may be placed on a special attendance contract by the Dean of Students and receive additional disciplinary consequences.”
This makes sense; students should not miss a large number of days because it makes it extremely difficult for them to stay involved in classes. However, the way days are counted is not fair to all students.
For example, I will miss a total of seven days for debate tournaments this semester, but because of Brophy’s 10 day limit on excused absences, I am unable to attend a Kairos Retreat. I’m traveling for a school activity—it’s not like I am on the beach on vacation.
For students who do activities that force them to travel, such as debate, crew, soccer or many other extra-curricular activities, their time involvement and commitment can potentially be punished in the form of missing spiritual retreats that are integral to a student’s experience at Brophy.
We should change the policy to make exceptions for activities, as long as the student can prove that they can make up their work and stay ahead in classes.
Additionally, the policy does not account for unexpected variables such as a sudden death in the family, an illness or some other short notice crisis. Ten days is the limit, period.
There are always things that occur in one’s life that a stringent policy such as the current one does not take into account, but we shouldn’t have to throttle back our involvement just in case something happens.
Since we are supposed to be independent and more committed to their education, give students the tools to make their own decisions, and prove to the Dean and the school as a whole that we can engage in good time allocation and show maturity.
This is not to say that extra-curricular activities are on the same plane of importance as school, because they are obviously not. Instead, Brophy’s policy should take into consideration the many unexpected circumstances that can happen in a student’s life and the value of other activities.
So even if I miss a lot of school for debate, I should still be able to miss a little more for Kairos.