The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

The Online Edition of the Annandale High School Newspaper.

The A-Blast

Students skipping at AHS


    At AHS, students are expected to go to class, do their work, and pay attention. Yet recently, students have been skipping classes more often, whether that be in-between classes via a hall pass or not going to class in the first place. 

    This has been a problem for awhile but not only at AHS. Schools around FCPS have reported skipping problems. This affects the students academically because they miss content and assignments.

    “More kids are skipping school than ever before,” said dean of attendance Matthew Carlock.

    There are some ways that this problem can be solved at AHS, like bumping up security, having passes that allow students to only go to certain halls, and bathroom trackers that tell how many students are in a bathroom and how long they’ve been in there.

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    “It’s my first year and I’ve seen a fair amount of students hanging out in the bathrooms during class,” said freshman Benjamin Wijeratne

    Some active ways that AHS tries to stop skipping is by handing out various punishments. These punishments vary. If you’re excessively tardy for one to three weeks, you get lunch detention; if you’re excessively tardy for four to six weeks you get after school detention; if you’re excessively tardy for seven weeks, then a parent conference is called. 

    “We have an automated system that takes attendance and if a student skips too much they get lunch detention,” said Carlock.

    AHS also tries to help students who are routinely late. They hand out various things like Metro passes to students who live far away and can’t catch a ride, or free daycare to people who need to take care of their siblings for various reasons. If the students don’t use these advantages, then AHS will likely have to release the student.

    Chronic absenteeism is a growing problem. Chronic absenteeism is defined by being absent for more than ten school days during the year. Last year, at Annandale, about 24.999 students suffered from chronic absenteeism. If that number were to reach 25%, then the state of Virginia would step in and likely enforce stricter rules upon the school, perhaps being escorted to lunch or monitored when walking through the hall will be implemented.

    The current rate now is 21.2% at Annandale and is expected to go up soon. 

    There are many reasons students skip some classes. A reason why some skip is that it may be a class they don’t like, are struggling in, or find boring. Students may also skip to vape or smoke in areas that aren’t being monitored, for example, in the bathroom or behind the school.

    “I’ve seen a lot of people doing stuff in the bathroom, like vaping,” said senior Saul Villatoro.

    Some students leave school and walk home or to the local businesses nearby, like Kung Fu Tea, Subway, or 7/11. To the administration, this is worse and results in a more severe punishment. In addition, students who leave school and come back are required to get patted down for anything they shouldn’t have.

    “We have eyes on students who are leaving and returning,” said Carlock.

    Another form of skipping is students who use the hall passes to skip class. Students will request to go to the bathroom, and then walk around the school, waiting until the bell rings- or until they get caught. Teachers and schools have implemented new methods to help stop this.

    Teachers have a list of students who aren’t allowed to use hall passes. There are only 45 students on the list right now, and it is typically only students who take too long when with a hall pass, or have been using hall passes to skip.

    Similarly, some students must be escorted to the bathroom.There are only 10 students on this list, and most of these students skip often.

    “We just implemented a new system in which the top ten students with most skips get escorted back to class if caught skipping,”  said Resource teacher David Hersh.

    It is likely that AHS will still have some skipping, skipping will always be a problem around FPCS and the nation as a whole. The question is to wait and see what happens next in the coming years.

    “I think skipping will definitely decrease in the future,” said freshman Benjamin Wijeratne.

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    About the Contributor
    Logan Barberis
    Logan Barberis, Staff Writer
    Freshman Logan Barberis in his first year of journalism as a staff writer. He likes to spend time with friends and family, listen to music, wrestling, and watching South Park . He also plays football and has a dog named Charlie.  

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