Food and drink tardy policy is inefficient and wasteful (Opinion)

Administration introduced a policy that confiscates student’s food and drinks when they’re tardy, and this has caused more issues than it’s solved


Arizona Lee

This policy is printed on a sign in the front office.

Arizona Lee, Editor-in-Chief

Opinion articles represent the view of the individual writer, not necessarily The Mav student newspaper, MHS, or SVVSD.

Within this last school year, lunches and tardies have both been shifted around quite a bit. The split lunch schedule was introduced, several different tardy policies were implemented, QR codes and forms were required for tardy students, and food delivery services were no longer allowed.

Coming back from the COVID-19 shutdown meant many students were jarred — they weren’t familiar with some of the policies that were being reimplemented and weren’t being very well informed on new policies.

The prom eligibility requirements, for example, hadn’t changed from years before the pandemic, and Ms. Rachel Salaz said that she “warned [students] from the beginning, at the door” about their attendance. 

“This is… the same from years before,” she said.

But a policy students have recently come into contact with is the food and drink policy for tardiness. When signing in at the front doors, students are greeted with a sign reading: “Per Administration: When TARDY no FOOD or DRINK are allowed beyond this point”.

This means that if a student walks in late and has visible food or drink in hand, it is taken by attendance secretary Ms. Laura Sanchez and set on her desk until the end of the class period when it is thrown away.

The point of this rule initially appeared to be encouraging students to not stop and get food when already late and to not let stopping to purchase food become a valid reason for tardiness. It was most likely implemented to solve some of the issues with tardiness we’ve experienced this year and stop in-class disruptions when students walk in not only late to class, but with an entire meal in hand.

Though this is a valid goal, from my own experiences, this policy isn’t solving what it’s supposed to.

Students who are already late and choose to make a stop for food experience natural consequences — they miss more of class, meaning they don’t understand lessons taught or announcements made during that time. And for those who don’t care about those consequences, that doesn’t mean they don’t have to deal with them at all. They are still impacted.

I understand that there are students who don’t care about how much class time they’re missing; natural consequences alone don’t encourage them to be on time. However, it is no one’s responsibility to try to force students to care about consequences. The consequences are there whether the student cares about them or not.

The job of an enforced policy is not to find a way to punish students until they “care”. 

Taking away their food doesn’t encourage them to attend class — it simply punishes the students who are already experiencing consequences as is.

Purchasing food when tardy or letting that be the cause of tardiness is a choice students make for themselves, whether positive or negative; our food intake, within reason, should not be that strictly regulated, especially if it’s just a small drink or snack that wouldn’t disrupt class any more than a tardy student.

Instead of encouraging students to have better time management or avoid making themselves late in the mornings and following lunch, from what I’ve seen, this policy has caused students to do one of the following: eat in their car until finished and then enter the building more tardy than before, enter the building from a different door than the front (which is extremely unsafe when done regularly), or “hide” their food and drinks in backpacks and pockets.

And honestly, I can’t blame students that do this.

Beyond being overstepping and inefficient, this policy is incredibly wasteful. I don’t know anyone who’s gone back to the front office after that class period to pick up their confiscated food or drink. This means they’re getting thrown away, which wastes money, food, and time.

This is making more work for staff that is unnecessary and, quite frankly, in my opinion, not their job. Regulating and organizing student attendance doesn’t mean simultaneously trying to make sure students aren’t smuggling an open Red Bull in their bag while also checking Google survey submissions for attendance records and unlocking doors as other unaccounted for students try to sneak through.

I understand administration is allowed to enforce this rule, but that doesn’t mean it’s best for anyone. It’s wasteful and unnecessary especially for smaller, non disruptive items. It’s causing many more problems than it’s solving.