Union Street Journal

Teachers combat Senior Ditch Day

Classrooms+were+left+empty+on+Wednesday%2C+Nov.+1+when+the+senior+class+called+a+ditch+day.
Classrooms were left empty on Wednesday, Nov. 1 when the senior class called a ditch day.

Classrooms were left empty on Wednesday, Nov. 1 when the senior class called a ditch day.

Photo by Valerie Lombogia

Photo by Valerie Lombogia

Classrooms were left empty on Wednesday, Nov. 1 when the senior class called a ditch day.

Valerie Lombogia, Staff Writer

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As a result of the yearly tradition of Senior Ditch Day, teachers begrudgingly marked many more absences than usual on Wednesday, Nov. 1.

More than 150 students were marked unexcused, but most deans assume that the number isn’t completely accurate.

“This number doesn’t include the students absent that had their parents excuse them,” Dean Craig Blaser said.

Most teachers look contemptuously upon the custom of Ditch Day because of the difficulties it causes for them. AP teachers in particular need enough time to adequately prepare students for exams.

“It cuts into the amount of teaching time I have, and I take that time seriously,” AP Environmental Science teacher Jeff Boyce said.

Other teachers are more understanding about Seniors wanting to take an extra day off, but the major complaint about Ditch Day is that there is more than one.

“I don’t have a problem with it if it’s one day,” History teacher David Valdez said. “I can plan for it if it’s just a day.”

The Senior Ditch Day planned for sometime second semester will add on to the number of days seniors are already absent, especially in the spring.

“There’s a lot of things going on in spring such as DECA and sports,” Valdez said.

Many teachers arm themselves with different methods to combat the yearly tradition.

“Teachers had mandatory assignments on that day. There were also tests,” Senior Pearl Schwartz said.

Boyce had a similar approach in persuading students to show up.

“I provide an alternative assignment for kids that come to class, and kids that don’t come must make it up,” he said.

Although multiple teachers employed these kinds of tactics in preparation for Ditch Day, many classrooms were still sparsely populated on Nov. 1.

Many students ditched because of the parties held on Halloween the night before, but some ditched simply because of peer pressure.

“I ditched because everyone else did it,” Senior Danny Parker said.

Administration began tackling the issue of Ditch Day on Nov. 6 by creating a harsher consequence for seniors who seemed to be absent because of the tradition.

“They have 24 hours to get it excused,” Dean Brynn Thomas said. “If they don’t do it in 24 hours, they must do five days of supervised study.”

This effort to crack down on Ditch Day created much more work for the Deans’ and Attendance offices.

“We had to send notes out to each senior that appears to have ditched,” Thomas said.

And the Attendance office had to handle the mass number of phone calls from parents to excuse their students.

In the past, Ditch Days were done in the spring because it was closer to graduation, which wasn’t too concerning to Deans.

“There should not be a Ditch Day in fall. It’s too early in the year. Seniors need to focus on graduating,” Thomas said. “It’s traditional to do it in spring. Now is not the time.”

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Teachers combat Senior Ditch Day