Senior skip day controversy

Students’ last big opportunity for adventure


Photo provided by Edmond High School

Olivia Edwards, Staff Writer

Friday, April 19th marked the Senior Skip Day of the 2018-2019 school year. With conflicting ideas on unexcused absences from school, parents, students, teachers and administration can’t all agree on the outcome of this day.

While Senior Skip Day seems irresponsible to adults, students spend a lot of time doing things to please the adults in their lives. They have to get their homework done on time and to their best of their ability in order to appease their teachers. Students have to keep their bedrooms clean at all times to appease their parents. Students spend so much time trying to make the other people in their lives happy and are being taught that their emotions aren’t as important as having completed homework and a tidy bedroom. For one day, students should be able to do what they want to do, not what is expected of them.

The amount of controversy this subject receives is unnecessary. It’s up to the student if they’d like to take the day off or if they’re willing to treat Senior Skip Day like just another regular, boring school day. After nearly 180 days in school, it doesn’t seem like a huge issue to miss one more.

It takes a certain level of maturity to decide what to do during this instance. Adults may frown upon a student’s choice to ditch because it’s too irresponsible for a high schooler to do. However, a human’s brain isn’t fully developed until age 25, says the University of Rochester Medical Center, further proving that students lack the maturity and critical decision making skills adults do. What seems fun now may not pay off in the long-run and what will pay off in the long-run might not seem fun. But of course students can’t see that now. Any temptation to partake in spontaneous behavior is enough to keep a student from going to class.

To add to this issue, it can be difficult for students to decide what to do on this day in regards to peer pressure as well. A lot of a student’s social life is dictated by their friends and social groups. If friends are skipping school on Senior Ditch Day, there’s a large change the rest of the group will be too, as seen in the context of senior Ryan Michael’s skip day. Michael spent the day with friends, mostly because his friends were partaking in it.

Students already have limited time to spend with friends during their last year together. Many students have jobs, college visits, large loads of homework every night and other responsibilities outside of the regular school day. These students are human, too. They want to make the most of their last year of high school. They don’t want 180 class days to sit through, lifelessly typing up essays and working through math problems in a robot-like fashion.

It’s hardly fair to judge the whole senior class for taking a day off. Senior Skip Day is their last big chance to have fun and act spontaneously running around town for a day before they’re forced to grow up, pay their own bills and work full time.

The main issues that parents and teachers have with this day is that students will collect missing work.

Sure, it’s not wise to skip school if there’s an upcoming test or project, but with a little bit of planning, Senior Skip Day really looks a lot like a sick day. As long as the work gets made up in a timely manner, there isn’t much of an issue, unless there are other commitments made prior to the day. Senior Caleb Riedel was partaking in a baseball game that day and knew that skipping school would make him ineligible to play. He made the right choice to sit through the school day in order to participate in the game.

In regards to absence, most teens have their parents call them out of school for appointments, college visits or sick days. There’s no real way for the administration to find out if a student actually stayed home or visited a college like they were claiming they were. The “ditch” part of senior ditch day is debatable, because not very many people ditch. Commonly, parents call students out for the day so there’s little trouble for the administration office to take care of in terms of tracking students down for detention. But, if someone is going to skip, they might as well make it count and own up to the consequences they will face.

According to Assistant Principal Stacy Longacre, the administration office doesn’t recommend skipping, but it isn’t much of an issue if it doesn’t happen again.

“If a student comes every day and does what they need to to every day, I don’t think skipping one day is going to make or break them,” Longacre said. “But if they’re truly going to skip, they should skip and take the consequence like an adult would. Getting called out isn’t a true skip day.”

Every member of the administration was a teenager at some point. They should understand the temptation to want to rebel against school rules and take one of their last few opportunities to spend time with their friends, who will more than likely split up when it comes time for college and real life careers.

At the end of the day, this one choice won’t decide these teenagers’ future. What they choose to do today will not follow them for the rest of their lives nor will there be drastic consequences.

It’s a choice some people decide to make and the judgement that comes from teachers and parents is unnecessary. If a student wants to spend time outside of school making themselves happy, doing something that isn’t illegal, then there should be no shame surrounding that decision.