Beep, Beep, Beep. We all know the most dreaded sound of the whole morning: the alarm clock. But if there’s one thing worse than getting up early for school, it’s waking up too late. 

It’s 7:15 when you finally pry your eyes open and realize you have overslept. You spring out of bed and throw on any outfit you can find. You sprint out the door without even thinking about breakfast. On your way to school, your stomach grumbles and you can barely keep your eyes open as you pass the countless coffee and breakfast shops scattered around town. Stop at any, and all of your dreadful morning problems would be fixed…except for being late.

It’s now 7:38 and you’re passing the last coffee shop. “It’s now or never,” you tell yourself, but your good conscience overcomes temptation and you arrive at school just before the bell. However, 10 minutes into your first block class, the kid that sits next to you strolls into the room, disrupting the class, and casually hands the teacher their blue late slip. But what annoys you the most is the obvious Starbucks latte they’re carrying in one hand and the Bruegger’s bagel in the other. If they can be late because they were getting these things, why can’t you?   

Unexcused tardiness is a recognized issue here at AHS. A big factor in those late arrivals is purchasing outside items like coffee or breakfast before school. This shows little effort and concern to be on time for school. It is also inconsiderate to your classmates, teachers, and school policy.

Coffee is a necessary part of many students’ everyday routine, and we all understand that it is sometimes hard to get in a full nutritional breakfast. We also know that once in a while, it’s okay to have a bad morning and end up late to school. However, if it’s becoming a habit and a pattern for you to be late because of outside purchases, then that is definitely inexcusable.

The school understands that things come up and you can be running late sometimes and for this reason, students get three blue passes (or “freebies,” as Dr.Lord calls them) before they get a gold slip, which is unexcused. “We have to draw the line somewhere and three seems reasonable,” says Dr. Lord. However, taking advantage of this system by getting outside food or drinks when you know you will be late to school is not okay.

As it turns out, it is indeed becoming a bad habit for many. As sophomore Hannah Souza points out, “You look at the tardy line and about  half of [the people in it] are holding coffees.” Souza also says that “if they ask why you were late and you say, ‘I was getting coffee,’ then they’re not going to [accept] it.”

As Dr. Lord states, “The definition of on-time is in your seat before the bell rings,” and he thinks “kids can get coffee whenever they want; they just have to plan it.” He suggests that starting your day a little earlier may do the trick.

Ms. Pina, a social studies teacher, says, “Some tardiness cannot be helped, but tardiness with food or coffee is a bigger distraction because of the implicit message that you come first and the rest of the world comes second.” This is true since the students who do this are showing that they don’t care about getting to school on time and that it is not worth their efforts. If it was worth it, they would plan their mornings better, or just skip the coffee.

Another issue with this is the academic and classroom component. Walking in late is a distraction and disruption to the class. It is an inconvenience to the teacher who may have to stop their lesson, and it’s disrespectful to the other students who made the choice and sacrifices to be on time for school.

Ms. Pina says that people who come in late to her class “create a distraction even if they have a valid excuse.” Coffee is not a valid excuse, and so the situation is made that much worse. Ms. Pina also points out that “some students who come to class on time but didn’t have a chance to bring food might wish they had some, even though they made the responsible choice.” This is very disrespectful and, again, exhibits little care and effort compared to the other students who made the sacrifice of not stopping for anything so that they could be at school before the bell. It may seem even more unfair to those students who arrive on time, since the late kids most often have no consequence unless it was their fourth tardy.

A great alternative to this problem is the cafeteria right here at AHS. They sell a variety of delicious and hearty breakfast foods, as well as a wide selection of coffee and tea that is very convenient. If you find that it’s impossible for you not to go without coffee or tea, and you never have time for breakfast at home, try getting it at the school instead of an outside source. Again, this will only be possible if you start your mornings earlier or plan accordingly so you leave time to get these things at school before you need to be in class. It will be so much better for you, your teachers, your classmates, and the school in general if you’re not coming late because you were getting coffee or food.

By Rebecca Boese and Abby Conrad