A high school in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, decided early last week to suspend just under half of its entire student body, barring them from attending school for at least one day. The reason? School administrators were exasperated by the number of unexcused absences that students had accumulated.
In other words, Harrisburg High School punished students who refused to go to class by literally blocking them from going to class. That makes sense… right?
Principal Lisa Love, who recently became the school’s top administrator, explained that droves of students were showing up to school but loitering around the campus instead of going about their studies.
“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,” she 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.”
Love insisted that the “radical” move – which affected 500 out of the roughly 1,100 students at Harrisburg High – was intended to target those youngsters who gather in hallways, restrooms, and gymnasiums instead of in the classrooms where they belong.
“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 de here. And that’s to focus on student achievement,” Love added.
While the punishment seems to have scared several students into providing documentation for their unexcused absences, Love and other school administrators plan to revoke prom and graduation privileges for those who still do not learn their lesson.
Attendance is just one of the many problems facing Harrisburg High School, which features a relatively abysmal 52.78 percent graduation rate compared to the statewide average of 84.75 percent and whose students severely underperform in standardized tests.
Watch Love’s remarks on the matter below: