To Tardy Sweep or Not?


Crystal Gonzalez/Poly Optimist

Poly Magnet Coordinator Michelle Nellon monitors the hallways.

Michelle Nellon, Poly Staff


“That was the one-minute bell students. We are having a tardy sweep, so please report to your class on time.” Undoubtedly you hear this every day on Poly’s campus in the morning before first period and after lunch followed by, “That was the final bell. If you didn’t make it to your class on time, please report to the nearest SLC for the tardy sweep. Teachers please don’t allow students into your classrooms without proper passes. Thank you!”

Are tardy sweeps really necessary? When I first came to Poly, I hated tardy sweeps. Students who were maybe one minute late would spend another 15-20 minutes waiting to get a tardy pass. This would make my students miss the warmup and then get behind in the day’s lesson. I took a stand and rebelled against what I saw was a flawed system. I let my students in class after the final bell.

This seemed to work for a short period of time until some students saw that as a license to purposefully be late to class. Eventually letting students in late didn’t work either. I had to think of something else to get my students to class on time without hurting them for running behind a minute or two and at the same time not allowing this behavior.

Let’s face it, we all run late sometimes. You sleep through your alarm or you forgot to set it. Your little brother or sister won’t get dressed on time. The car won’t start, or you get a flat tire on the way. LA traffic is unpredictable even if you are traveling 2 miles. Everyone runs late at some point in time. So how do we deal with the occasional lateness versus the habitual lateness that some students have?

That is what I have been grappling with since the beginning of this school year when I stepped into the role of magnet coordinator. With that role comes the responsibility of supervising the hallways.

Of Poly’s 2500 or so students only 13% are the chronically late; the other 87% manage to make it to class on time (or maybe just sneak in right after the bell rings). For the most part, students understand the importance of being to class on time or the fear of the final bell gets them moving a little faster. Whatever it is, they know they need to be in class on time. So, what do we do? I still don’t know.