What the 9 Day Policy Means for Students and the School

Many students have complained about having the ability to only take nine days off school in a year. Reasons behind these complaints are many of the students feel these days are often taken up by medical concerns, religious reasons, or vacation days. However, there are a few reasons why the school has this policy instilled.

One of the major reasons why it is important for students to be at school is because of the funding it provides. “What students don’t realize is Metea is compared to other schools in terms of enrollment and attendance and these numbers control how much money the school is allotted. This money goes towards everything from materials used in the classrooms to sponsoring athletics for the school. The lower the number is for students going to school in a year, the higher the stakes are for the funding,” Dean Jennifer Reyes said.

The majority of students don’t really discuss what impact their absence from school will have on the school; they’re busy thinking about the impact on themselves. Even though Metea has steady, high numbers for attendance compared to surrounding schools such as Neuqua and Waubonsie, administration wants to make sure these numbers don’t drop because it impacts everyone.

Another aspect that has to be looked at is that the attendance policy is not just a rule at Metea Valley or one of the other surrounding high schools. The 9-day policy is a county directive for compulsory attendance. This directive sets laws for not just high schools but for middle schools and elementary schools as well. The only reason it is looked at more stringently in high school is because high schools can lose the credit they have earned by gaining truancy incidents.

“While students in all schools ranging from elementary to high school are regularly checked for attendance, high schoolers are ones that have to worry that they are in enough classes in a year to earn credit to graduate. Many cases can lead to this scenario from repeated missing days without phone calls or unexcused absences. Going to school is like a job in a way, if you miss more days that you are allowed to at work (sick plus vacation days) you are docked pay; the same thing applies to school but instead of pay it’s your credit” Dean Reyes said.

While there are many reasons behind why the school needs to instill the nine-day policy, the policy still faces criticism from students who feel like the school should try and understand issues regarding money and unnecessary visits to the doctor.  

“I think the nine-day policy has gotten stricter over the years but now they’re really focused on the seniors especially about the nine-day policy. I don’t think the amount of days is fair and they should add more days. I think a big issue for students who do hit the nine-day limit is how they have to have a doctor’s not even if they have a cold or the flu. People don’t just want to go to the doctors and pay to be told what they already know. Also, if it’s a low-income family, that’s unfair,” senior Gabi Rowley said.

Other issues students seem to have are that if the student is keeping up their grades and is doing fine in school, it should up to the student to decide when their absences are and when they are allowed to have excused absences for days like college visits as long they have proof.

“I personally feel if students are on top of their work and doing their work they should be allowed to take a day off if they need it. Students that are taking multiple days and falling behind should be monitored more closely. Another problem I feel students like me face are issues like trying to visit colleges on weekdays. The colleges I’ve tried to visit are closed on the weekends or not available to visitors and even if I have proof I was on a college visit, it’s still not excused. I think something should be done about this,” senior Viraja Dayal said.