Final exemption rule changes bombard student body

Emily Shephard, Editor-in-Chief

Exemptions have long been a privilege granted to the juniors and seniors; however, new rules have changed the final exemption policy to students being allowed only three collective unexcused and excused absences. This does not include school-related absences, but it does include doctor visits.
Last year, the new exemption policy was brought up to Principal’s Council, and it was met with extreme disagreement. Students collectively agreed that it is unfair for student medical absences to count against them for exemption. A student cannot help if they have to have a prolonged leave of absence due to an illness. It is possible for a student to appeal an absence on the basis of medical leave; however, it is not right that a committee can decide if a student’s medical absence counts or not.
Some families without insurance can’t afford to take their kid into the doctor’s office on a week day because they need to be at work in order to support their family. A parent should always prioritize their child’s health, but if a simple stomach ache is keeping them home without a note from a doctor, they can bring a note from their parent to get the absence counted as excused; however, the office doesn’t count parent notes in the appeal process.
Taking away the ease of exemptions adds to the pressure of finals week for students. Juniors and seniors have exemption rights, but they can also take college classes. Seniors can take up to three dual credit classes. The focus for dual credit students shouldn’t be the worry about being exempt but rather studying for their college finals.
At the school board meeting Dr. John Sherrill stated that he discussed this change at the beginning of the year assembly; however, after reviewing the presentation slideshow, this matter was not listed in the slides nor do staff or students recall this discussion. Policy changes should not occur mid-year.
Exemption shouldn’t be based off the number of absences someone has but rather their overall grade. It’s unfair to have to take a final when one has a 98 in a course, and it isn’t right to put unwanted stress onto the backs of the students who help this school thrive.