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This High School Principal Does Something Drastic to Stop Students from Skipping Class! Did She Go Too Far?!

Albert Einstein once said that insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Lisa Love, the new principal of Harrisburg High School in Harrisburg, PA., has taken a bold step to stop the insanity.

Love, who stepped in as principal in January, issued suspension notices Monday to almost half of the student body because of far too many unexcused absences.

Of the more than 500 students who received notices, approximately 100 have already served a one-day suspension.

Many parents arrived at the school with the paperwork needed to clarify the absences of the remaining students to see if the absences were authorized.

School Superintendent Sybil Knight-Burney backed up Love’s decision, saying it should be a “wake-up call” to parents in a school district where the graduation rate is more than 30 percent lower than the statewide average.

“In order for us to get different results, we have to do something different,” she said. “We can’t do the same ol’ same ol’ and then complain about it when we’re getting the same ol’ results.”

Assistant principal Keith Edmonds said the benchmark used to establish what constitutes “excessive” absence was 35 missed classes within a 45-day marking period. That number represented a week’s worth of missed classes or seven classes a day in a five-day week.

“Right now, the process is just to weed out where our issues are so that we can properly address them,” Edmonds said.

Love said the absences are not just a matter of kids not showing up to school.

“The problem I’ve noticed here as principal is that students are coming to school but they are not going to classes when they get here,” she said. “Many parents send their kids to school and they’re thinking they’re going to class. I needed to reach out because of the enormous number not going to class.”

Love said many students hang around in the halls, gymnasium or other empty areas of the school instead of attending classes.

“If you’re not in class, all you’re here to do then is to wreak havoc upon the school and disrupt the work that we are trying to do here…to focus on student achievement,” Love said.

Some parents are glad the principal is taking steps to address the excessive absence issue, but some question whether suspension is the best course of action since it results in the students missing more classes.

“We don’t like to suspend,” Love said. “I don’t even like talking about suspensions. But because we’re in a place where our school is a priority school, we need to send the message that we value education first.”

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