Seniors shouldn’t get out of school earlier than others

Taryn Robinson, Opinions Editor

In the 2020-2021 school year at Manhattan High School, seniors get out of school on May 6. While all 12th graders get out on this date, K-11 start their summer at 3:05 p.m. on May 14 — an eight-day difference. The Mentor Editorial Board feels that it is not necessary for seniors to get out of school earlier than all the other grades.

While this eight-day difference seems unfair to the other grades, ironically it is the same way for seniors in terms of their workload. Many seniors take classes that give out homework for them to do on their own time. Even though this is expected of teachers, the seniors are at a disadvantage because they have to get all their work done and turned in more than a week earlier than all other grades.

Teachers are also at a disadvantage with senior release day. Teachers that have multiple grade levels in their classes have to plan out a separate lesson and schedule for the rest of the students once the seniors are gone. Eight days is too short to start a new lesson, and more than likely, finals will be finished before seniors leave on May 6. This eight-day gap ultimately creates an unneeded gap where it is hard to start another project or test before the end of the year. Students would have nothing to do during this time other than work on other classes or walk around the school hallways.

The Kansas Department of Education requires grades 1-11 to have 1,116 hours in the school year, while those who are in grade 12 only need 1,086 to meet the minimum requirement. Neither of these minimums counts lunch as time toward the school day. However, even though seniors have 30 less hours than all other grade levels, these hours still are fulfilled even with late start and early release. Seniors do not need both late start/early release and an eight-day head start to their summer.

There is no logical reason for seniors to get out earlier than all the other grades. They already get to enjoy late start/early release and have the option to not fill their schedule with seven classes in the school year. 

Instead of getting out eight days earlier and causing an inconvenience for other grade levels in high school and teachers, seniors could wait to get released with everyone else, so that everyone gets out of school on the same day. While it’s too late for this year, USD 383 administration should make this change beginning with next year’s schedule.