Six RHS Students Tried for Truancy in District Court

The+courtroom+sketch+from+the+students%27+trial.

The courtroom sketch from the students' trial.

Ellie Davis

As recently reported by The Radish in Nick Sparanza’s article, New RHS Attendance Policies Leaked, the district found a record-high fifty RHS Students truant during the past two weeks of online attendance. Because Radnor strives for excellence, even amidst the pandemic, at a very minimum all students should be present, at home, to receive their education, the administration explained. These students’ inability to verify their presence at school, by checking their attendance box every day, is truly astonishing. 

To be labeled as Truant, each student failed to show up at least three days, without a medically legitimate excuse, of course. The attendance office contacted all fifty students’ parents, all of whom met virtually with Mr. Thomas on BigBlueButton for a Parent-Teacher Student School Attendance Improvement Conference (PTSSAIC for short). During the meetings, they discussed important matters such as making the 3 pm attendance deadline, not opening another tab during school work, and keeping the household router plugged in. 

Despite these conferences, six of the fifty students found Truant continuously failed to show up for school. Having surpassed the threshold of six unexcused absences, the district has labeled these six students as “Habitually Truant,” and even created a new color on Home Access Center to denote this attendance code. Because of their lack of cooperation, the Attendance office passed the problem off to the magisterial district court, where the defendants could potentially face fines of up to $20,000. 

In recent weeks, the magisterial district court has received a flood of similar cases to process. Thus, for the sake of minimizing the time needed for the trials, the court conducted all six students’ trials at the same time via Zoom. The Radish received a copy of the transcript:

Those present: Judge, Police Officer Bill (to protect the Judge from any unexpected physical assault), a hairy man (thought to be regular citizen ensuring the right to a public trial but potentially a zoom bomber or a student’s older brother), The Students: Andy, Mary, Jack, Annie, Johnny, and Sarah .

 

Judge: How do I get this damn Zoom to work? I can’t find a way to unmute myself-

Police Officer: Sir, Sir, you aren’t muted. 

Judge: No, you’re not muted, I’m muted.

Police Officer: I never said that I was muted.

Judge: You’re not muted. Biiillllll, the technology piece was your job, why haven’t you figured this out yet?! Why can’t I see myself?!

Police Officer: You turned your camera off.

[Judge zooms in on himself so only right eyeball is visible]

Judge: Can you see me now?

Police Officer: Yes, you have been visible since you signed on. 

[Judge angles camera upward so the inside of both nostrils is fully visible]

Judge: I can see you now, can you see me?

Police Officer: Yes. 

Judge: Oh… well in that case. Are all the defendants present? Good. 

Police Officer: All rise.

[All defendants except Andy stand up]

Andy- I’m sorry your honor, I…. I… I’m not wearing any pants. 

Judge: Well I suggest you find a way to fix that. Anyway, I have 16 of these trials to get through today so let’s make this quick. I want each of you to explain to me- 

*Loud blending noise*

Judge: Susan! Susan! How many times have I told you not to grind coffee beans while I’m in court?! *cough* Excuse me, anyway, Andy, why don’t we start with you, why haven’t you been going to school?

Andy: Wait? Hold up, this isn’t the vape counseling class? I thought we were on vacation anyway. This is dumb, I’m out. 

Judge: Oh dear, I’ll have to report this lack of preparedness to your school admi- 

*Dog barking loudly*

Judge: Susan! I told you to take Sweetiepie outside, I can’t have the dog barking while I’m in court! *clears throat* Well son, ignorance of the law is no excuse. But I’m feeling nice and I’ll only give you 100 hours of community service. That means making face masks from your home. 

Andy: What?! I didn’t even know about this atten-

*Gavel bang*

Judge: Order! 

[Judge knocks over iPad]

Judge: Goddamnit. Alright, Mary, you’re next, why have you missed school? 

Mary: Your greatest highest honor sir, I’m sorry, I’ve been at school and I tried to sign in but the link wouldn’t work. I tried it on my phone, my computer, my surface go, nothing! And I was going to email the attendance office immediately but my router broke and it was fixed six days later. I never get in trouble I promise. 

Judge: Do you know what I’m hearing?

Mary: What?

Judge: Excuses!! And some static feedback! 150 hours of community service plus a $10,000 fine!

*muffled crying*

Judge: Who’s next? Jack?

Jack: You see, your honor, I have been following what I like to call an adjusted learning plan. It has actually proven to be quite beneficial. It’s where I wake up at 5 pm, start my school day, and then stay up till around 7 am playing Warzone. Now, this is the plan that works for me, and I have contacted the attendance office multiple times explaining why I cannot take attendance within the 8 am-3 pm widow but I have to say they have been very accommodating. It seems like they are biased towards “daytime learners,” and – 

*gavel bangs* 

Judge: All right that’s enough. You know what the expectations are: 8 am – 3 pm, no exceptions! 200 hours of community service and $20,000 fine! Who’s next? Annie, this better be good. 

Annie: I’m really *cough* not supposed to be here *cough*. I’ve been sick this whole time, and I emailed the *cough* attendance office *cough* but they must not have gotten the message. 

Judge: Sick?! She could be infected! We have all been exposed! Officer, remove her from the courtroom immediately! 

[The Police Officer removed Annie from the Zoom Call] 

Judge: At this point we have all been exposed, we are increasing our risk the more time we spend together. Everyone go home and wash your hands. You’ll have to isolate yourselves from your families. Susan? Susan don’t come in! I’ve been infected! Keep sweetiepie out! 

 [The Judge ended the meeting]

 

Since the trial, Mary and Jack have appealed the rulings, and the court has received no word from Andy. Annie is currently waiting to receive proper medical attention – our thoughts and prayers go out to her. For fear of further spreading of the virus, the District Court has postponed Johnny and Sarah’s trials indefinitely