progressive discipline in high school tardy policies

High School Tardy Policies and Progressive Discipline

Tardiness is a significant issue at nearly every middle and high school we work with. Tardiness disrupts the classroom, impacts academic performance, and creates negative habits that may persist into adulthood. It’s gotten to the point where many administrators feel it is an insurmountable obstacle. But at Minga, we’ve been working on systems and processes that can help to significantly improve student behavior. We’ve learned that adding a progressive discipline framework to your high school tardy policies can do wonders for reducing tardiness and creating a culture of punctuality in high schools.

It can be as simple as this 2-step process:

Step 1: Implement well-defined high school tardy policies

The first step in improving attendance is a clearly defined and implemented high school Tardy Policy. Your Tardy Policy should include a definition of what a tardy is, how and where it is recorded, and the parameters around discipline and resolution. This will help establish clear expectations regarding punctuality and reinforce the importance of being on time.

Step 2: Create a progressive discipline framework


The next step in fostering a culture of punctuality involves establishing a fair and feasible discipline framework around your high school tardy policies. Traditional approaches often involve immediate consequences which may not be manageable and easily enforceable in today’s climate. Progressive discipline is a more holistic and constructive approach that aims to help students understand the consequences of their actions and develop better habits and routines. This involves a series of escalating interventions or consequences that are designed to be proportionate to the frequency and severity of the tardiness. When creating your discipline framework it’s very important to ensure it’s actionable and enforced. An unenforced policy is likely worse than no policy.

The Underlying Impact of Tardiness White Paper

The purpose of progressive discipline in high school tardy policies

The common argument for implementing any consequence framework is that consequences don’t work, and the data shows they are likely correct. With that in mind, it’s important to remember that the purpose of progressive discipline is not to single-handedly change the individual or their behavior but rather to protect the structure of accountability and responsibility within your school. High school tardy policies should incorporate a progressive discipline framework that is well-understood and consistently applied across your school.

A clear and consistent Tardy Policy, when implemented effectively, will play a crucial role in fostering punctuality and responsibility among your students. By promoting a supportive and nurturing environment, schools can empower their students to become responsible and punctual individuals who are better equipped for success in their academic and professional lives.

Additional resources for high school tardy policies and progressive discipline:

How to Reduce Tardiness in High Schools

Tardiness Reflection Worksheet

What is Progressive Discipline? An Overview for School Leaders

Taming the Tardies – Every Minute Counts

ResearchGate – Schoolwide Intervention to Reduce Chronic Tardiness at the Middle and High School Levels


Minga offers a campus management platform that can help reduce tardies by 50% in just three months. With Minga, you’ll have all the tools needed to track and record tardies, automate the consequence framework, and notify administrators, staff, students, and families. Click here to book a time with a Minga Solutions Expert to learn more.

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