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Tardiness crackdown has hundreds standing

April 23, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A crackdown at a local high school is raising questions. More than 200 students were kept from class Thursday, some left standing for more than an hour at Lynwood High School Thursday morning. The crackdown is called "Purple Crush."School officials at Lynwood High School say they are cracking down on what they call rampant tardiness on campus and the result is that Thursday, more than 200 late students were forced to miss their first period and, they say, stand outside for their entire first block.

A Lynwood High student sent in cell phone pictures to Eyewitness News claiming she was forced to stay outside for two hours. The disciplinary action is part of a new "tardy sweep" on campus called "Purple Crush." Eyewitness News showed the school principal the pictures.

"The students know they need to get to class on time, and if they're not in class on time without a valid excuse, they have to sit and be in a detention center for the period," said Lynwood High School Principal Les Mazon.

That detention center is the bleachers at the baseball field. The students are taken there, their names written down and their parents notified.

Purple Crush is Principal Mazon's new, no-nonsense, zero-tolerance policy on tardiness implemented two weeks ago.

"We've seen our tardies drop significantly, anywhere from 100 to 150 per period down to as low as 10, eight and even four," said Principal Mazon. "Because we want to show the importance of education and the high prices that if you're not in class on time, you're going to miss class."

"I'm here as a parent volunteer all the time, and it's like the same group of kids leave every day," said school volunteer and parent Patricia Vivarette. "You know, unfortunately, yesterday was a late day, 9. You see kids coming to school at 10. It's like, school starts at 8. They should make a better effort of getting to school on time."

But Thursday was the first time Purple Crush was implemented for first period, which may explain why more than 200 students were late. The principal says they had to stand because there wasn't enough seating for all of them. But students tell a different story.

"They made us stand there for two hours," said student Stephanie Aguilar. "Well, they just had us standing up, we couldn't sit down or anything on any bleachers, and the administration was walking around making sure we weren't talking or moving around. ... We couldn't sit."

The students who contacted Eyewitness News have already met with the principal, and have already ironed out their differences. Those students say they agree that Purple Crush has been effective in getting kids to class on time.


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