Is ChiArts’ Tardy Policy Justified?


by Valerie Hooser

Do you know how many tardies you have?

Imagine this: you check your phone only to see that your bus got delayed for the third time, the weather woke you up on the wrong side of the bed, and bad luck just continues to persist.

When you finally arrive to school you get handed a tardy slip, or you get a notification on your phone that reads, “Your teacher has now marked you tardy.”

Over 15 percent percent of Chicago High School for the Arts (ChiArts) students are late to school — a dramatic increase from the 5 percent tardiness of students in middle school nationwide.

In a recent study of clinical sleep distress, Oxford university Dr. Avi Sedah wrote, “Only eight percent of high school students receive enough sleep on an average school night…A loss of one hour of sleep is equivalent to [the loss of] two years of cognitive maturation and development.” In other words, teenagers need more sleep than they are getting, and tardy policies aren’t making things any better.

ChiArts Tardy Policies

At ChiArts, the tardy policy is the same as it is at other schools. It’s important to be in class before the bell, not wander off, present yourself in a timely manner, and so on and so forth.

I asked ChiArts Science teacher Paul Dorney about his opinion about delaying tardies until 8:10 a.m. for first classes. His response was, “So, I travel a long way, as many students do, to get to ChiArts. If I am over a minute late there are possible consequences to my tardiness. The system is set up on a time no matter if you are 50 miles or .01 miles away. I’m not sure that is equitable, but the problem is that with no tardiness the kids that live within walking distance can also be late.”

There is the possibility of students taking advantage of a pushed-back tardy policy, resulting in unfairness for those who actually need it.

Taking a Deeper Dive

In this article, the writer describes how flawed the system of giving a tardy to late students is.

According to the article, the human brain isn’t fully awake and working until 10 a.m. Now, imagine having a test first thing in the morning.

Although there are plenty of cons to giving out tardies, let’s see how repeating lateness can affect a student.

Causes of being continuously late to school can result in:

  • Bad academic performance.
  • Worsened relationship with peers and teachers.
  • Bad habits.
  • Bad transcripts.
  • College application negativity.

As for the cons in receiving a tardy, they are:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Worsened performance


In all, there are negative results to receiving a tardy and the effect of being late to school. Every student differs in morning and sleep schedule because there is not a one-size-fits-all daily routine.

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