By Alexis Solomon
In the weeks leading up to the November 7 homecoming dance, Bonita Vista students could often be found at the ASB windows, waiting to purchase tickets. Upon reaching these windows, however, many of them would be turned down, finding themselves on the Choices’ List.
“Because I was absent the day after a [Speech and Debate] tournament, I had enough truancies to be placed on the Choices’ List. The day I went to buy the ticket, I was told that I was on the list and had to clear them in order to buy the ticket,” senior Kaiden Gipson said.
Creator of the list, ASB assistant principal of student activities Christopher Alvarez, stated that the Choices’ List is a list of students that have not met academic standards, owe fines, or have an excess amount of truancies and tardies. To be removed from the list, students must attend Saturday school, pay anyfines, or raise their grades. However, exceptions can be made for borderline students trying to right their wrongs, including aforementioned Gipson.
“There were a few [students on the Choices’ List allowed to attend homecoming], because [for example] it’s eight tardies [excused per Saturday school] and they had nine. So I would let them go, provided that they would go to the next Saturday school and then I would do the follow up,” Alvarez said.
Depending on their situation, students stuck in similar special circumstances can also be given alternative opportunities to clear themselves from the Choices’ List, if allowed by an assistant principal.
“I would be open and willing, and have been in the past to have a student [on the Choices’ List],work off some of those tardies so that they can actually be cleared. I usually have them do some community service here on campus, which usually turns into campus cleanup,” assistant principal Fernando Delgado said.
For Gipson, his alternative method for clearing truancies, which removed him from the Choices’ List and allowed him to attend homecoming, was after school detention.
“Mr. Alvarez told me that if I could get Mr. Helle to vouch for me, he’d take me off of the Choices’ List. I cut a deal with Mr. Helle, saying that if I spent seventh period in his room four times, it would be considered the equivalent of doing Saturday school. The Friday before homecoming, I [attended] my first Helle Detention, and Mr. Alvarez cleared me for Homecoming,” Gipson said.
Although Delgado has stated that a student must be making an active attempt to clear themselves from the Choices’ List to be considered for special conditions, some students feel this defeats the purpose of the list, also voicing concerns over its perceived harshness.
“I don’t think it fulfills its purpose as a preventative measure against truancy. Some people are absent because they like playing hooky. Others need personal days. And I guess it’s easy for me to say that I needed to be absent, but not everyone has bad intentions when they’re absent. I certainly didn’t,” Gipson said.