, Newburyport, MA

Local News

January 24, 2013

School delay causes 161 tardies

Misunderstanding over start time leads to widespread lateness

AMESBURY — Thrown off by Tuesday’s two-hour snow delay, more than one-quarter of Amesbury High School’s student body showed up late for class due to a misunderstanding over when school was actually supposed to start.

On Monday night, in anticipation of forecasts for between 6 and 9 inches of snow, the mayor’s office declared a snow emergency. The school system followed by announcing a two-hour delay for Tuesday morning. That announcement did not include specific start times for any of the schools.

Amesbury was the only community in the region that ended up preemptively delaying school Tuesday. By morning, barely a dusting of snow was on the ground and the roads were clear. But the delay remained in place as announced.

According to students, the widespread assumption was that school would be delayed two hours from when classes normally begin at 8 a.m.

But the problem was that the high school day officially starts at 7:30 a.m., when band, chorus and homeroom are usually held. So students were expected to be at school by 9:30 a.m.

As a result of that discrepancy, 161 students showed up late to school and the line of students waiting to check in at the office at 10 a.m. was so long that it stretched down the hall and out the front door.

Principal Roy Hamond said no students have been issued detentions or suspensions for being late on Tuesday, and that the only action the school took was to record the students who were late, as required by law.

“We have to record for the state that they were tardy,” Hamond said. “If there’s any disciplinary action, it would be for those who are regularly tardy. Any students that were tardy for the first time, there were no consequences except that it goes into the record.”

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