School tightens up on student tardiness Midland Park High School students who make it a practice of being late to school will suffer greater repercussions than has been the case up to now. The board of education last week supported a recommendation by Superintendent of Schools Dr. William Heebink to assign a detention for every two late arrivals to school in the morning. “The board examined several possibilities and opted for one which is tighter than what now exists, but provides a little latitude for students only rarely late, but a much stronger penalty for those who are habitually late,” he explained. Dr. Heebink’s recommendation reads as follows: “Students who arrive at school after 8:05 a.m. or after the start of an assigned zero period are considered late to school. “When a student is late a second time, the student will be assigned a detention on the day of the second late arrival. If the pupil is late two more times after that, the student will receive a second detention on the day of the fourth late arrival. Thereafter, the student will be assigned a detention on the same day for every single additional late arrival.” The new structure will not go into effect until parents are informed of the change from what was printed in the student handbook, Dr. Heebink said. According to Dr. Heebink, there was a notable problem at the start of the school year, with late arrivals running in the double digits. When Principal Patricia Terraciano tightened the penalties to reduce the late arrivals, the practice proved successful, so the board was asked to formalize the arrangement. “The current penalty structure was clearly not making a difference. It was one detention for every three late arrivals (e.g. four detentions for 12 late arrivals),” the superintendent said. The part of the current policy regarding excused tardiness will remain in effect. It provides for up to two excused late arrivals per semester with a written note from a parent. Trustees pointed out that the Code of Conduct, the board’s policy book and the student manual should all be reviewed and updated so as to be consistent with each other. “We don’t want a parent to come in and say we are going against our own policy,” said Board President Rich Venditti. 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