By Brittany Campbell
Senior Skip Day is a secretly scheduled day when the seniors of a high school decide to skip class and do something else, and it has become traditional amongst high schools all across Canada and the United States. Senior Skip Day is usually a date chosen by the popular students of the senior class, and after that the word of mouth leads the information to spread among the students like a wildfire. SSD is a day when these students celebrate their upcoming graduation, and try to find relaxation and fulfillment on one special day of their high school careers dedicated especially to themselves by themselves. SSD is also a temporary relief for “Senoritis,” in most cases. But there is no ‘get out of jail free card,’ for SSD. Most public schools treat it as a regular unexcused absence; however- some schools are extra careful of how they handle SSD, placing extra precautions around to keep students on campus, such as police reinforcements.
What most people don’t know about student absences is that a lot of the time, student attendance is tied in with direct correlation to the amount of funding a school may receive from the state. Funding for things such as desired athletics, extracurricular events, and elective classes for students. In one article written in 2010 by The Bay Eagle, ( http://elsegundousd.com/eshs/thebayeagle/2010/02/senior-ditch-day ) SSD led to a severe loss of funding for the El Segundo School District. This district lost $38.36 of funding for any student absent on any day of the school year. So, lets say 300 seniors took part in their 2010 SSD. That would mean that the school district would lose $11,508 in a single day. Which is what happened. The school had to cut their JV football team to help cover their expenses, since just the JV team cost $4,000 a year at the time. The school was also forced to give faculty members a notice saying that their jobs were in jeopardy, all because the loss of state funding on SSD. In another article written by Sherry Parmet, it was said that it is common for about one fourth of the seniors in a class to ditch on SSD. Principal Rick Schmitt of Torrey Pines High school stated that “Good old-fashioned senior ditch days are in every school, but I think all of us are more tuned into this now because of the budget,” he said. “We get nearly $44 per student per day, and when students don’t show up we don’t get a penny.”
To prevent students form ditching on SSD, some schools call the parents ahead of time once they get wind of the date planned for SSD. “When talking to parents, we try to play on their guilt,” said Assistant Principal David Hall of San Dieguito High School Academy. “We tell them that this money that we lost would pay for a quarter’s worth of paint in our paint class, or district wide it would pay for an instructional assistant.” Another method of preventing students from skipping on SSD is for teachers to schedule something important on the planned date, like a test or lab work.
Even though SSD can put a big hole in some school’s financial wallets, most states allow schools to regain funding from students who are absent by sending them to Saturday school for them reattribute their lost school hours back into cash for school programs. So, even though it may be fun to get out of school and satisfy that irritating “Senoritis,” think about the extracurricular classes you love- classes such as choir or art. Then imagine your school without them because your school has to be able to afford such classes, of which they can no longer do because of missing students. At that point, I think most of us will be reconsidering our decisions for SSD.