Being a high school principal is hard work. After an alarming number of unspecified absences, one high school director in Pennsylvania suspended almost half the student population. Around 500 Harrisburg High School students have been suspended as the headmaster of the school started to tackle the issue of unexcused absences. PennLive states that, in line with the effort by Principal Lisa Love to tackle the problem, at least 100 of the students issued suspension notes served one-day suspension.
The principal spoke at length about the issue during a meeting with school officials and parents.
“The problem I’ve noticed here as principal is that students are coming to school but they are not going to classes when they get here,” Love said. “Many parents send their kids to school and they’re thinking they’re going to class. I needed to reach out because of the enormous number not going to class.”
Instead of showing up to class, many students have taken to spending time in the hallways, bathrooms, gymnasiums, and other parts of the school. Love said that she wanted implement something “radical” in order to let students know that this is not okay.
“If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here. And that’s to focus on student achievement,” the principal said.
School officials spoke before meeting with parents at an informal news conference with reporters. Officials explained that the school has new expectations for its students because, according to Fox News, the school has been struggling for some time with a low graduation rate and poor test scores.
Assistant Principal Keith Edmonds says the school issued notices of excessive absences for students who missed at least 35 classes in the 45-day or nine-week marking period. Missing 35 classes is equivalent to one week of inexcusable absences, as students are scheduled for seven classes each day. Edmonds says that when news of the suspensions began to spread, parents started appearing at school to provide absence documentation to help their kids avoid the penalty.
“This was a hard decision for me to make,” Love said. “But I had to get the attention of the community to let them know that we are here. And we’re about to do some wonderful things for students and the community and we want this to be a school that everyone is proud of. And this was probably the eye opener we needed to make that happen.”