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Ditching is okay

Illustration by Alia Aidyralieva, 17, Bravo Medical Magnet HS

"I think ditching is OK when needed. Like when one of my classmates shot himself at school, I wanted to go home. Ditching would be my only method, but due to campus security, I couldn’t."
—Nogie Demirjian, 16, Granada Hills HS

"I think ditching is OK because some classes are worth ditching. People have reasons to ditch; as long as they make up their work, it’s OK. My school is WAY too harsh on people who ditch. I wish the staff would trust the students more."
—Jennifer Gottesfeld, 14, Beverly Hills HS

"Ditching gives students the power to organize their schedules according to their needs. Teachers and parents often do not understand what is going on in a student’s life. On certain days where students just want a break, ditching can actually be healthy.
When I went to South Pasadena High, I could come to just the important class and write an absence note that said I was gone the whole day. If caught, which was unlikely, I’d get more school on Saturday, which I thought was a counterproductive and pointless policy."
—Vincent Hsia, 18, Santa Monica College

"Ditching sucks, but I hate it when the school treats us like cattle during nutrition and lunch. If we want to go out and get some food from the markets or local fast food restaurants then what’s the big deal? The school should just make it clear that we have to be back on campus by the time the bell rings. They should trust us and treat us like the young adults we are. If students leave and don’t come back, then they should suffer the consequences."
—Sami Temsah, 16, Verdugo Hills HS

"Of course I’ve ditched! It’s universal, especially in high school, but it’s OK. Sometimes I have to miss a day and prepare for the SAT, or I’ve been so busy planning for the school paper that I have to miss yet another day and catch up on schoolwork. I’ve noticed these days tend to add up when report card times comes along.
    But I keep my grades up! And I’m responsible, and I’ve only had to miss school for the benefit of my school. What if the paper never got done or what if I sopped taking AP and honors classes? Then I’d really get BEEF from everyone at school.
I think my school understands. The next day when I have to get an absence slip, the administrators just smirk and ask how I’m doing. They recognize the importance of balancing schoolwork with, hey, more schoolwork. Who’s to blame? You decide."
—Elizabeth del Cid, 17, North Hollywood HS

"Ditching is entirely up to you. If you don’t want to go to school or a particular class you shouldn’t be forced to. You should, however, be prepared to suggest any consequences or penalties due to your absence. But hey, if you can pull it off, not get caught, talk your way out of detention and still maintain that ‘A,’ more power to you. Sometimes it is hard to stay in a class and not cause a disruption or talk simply because you are bored. By not going to class, you might be helping out your fellow classmates who might not understand that last math formula as well as you do."
—Matt Jones, 17, Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)

Don’t ditch!

"I ditched once and it was fun until I got caught! Instead of going to class, I stayed in the P.E. field with my friend. We were having so much fun until we spotted a teacher and tried to run away. He heard me running and found me. Later we confessed to our teacher and got turned over to one of the counselors. They called our parents and we got detention. We were crying the whole time. I haven’t done it since."
—Name Withheld, 15

"It’s wrong to ditch, however, sometimes I see no reason to stay in class especially when there’s a substitute who doesn’t know what he’s doing. I think ditching is wrong only because you miss your work, but if you’re an A student and know that you will make up the work for that class, there’s nothing wrong with ditching, especially if you need that time to get ready for the test next period.
Personally, I have never ditched. I saw no point in it, besides during class, security men walk around school, looking for ditchers."
—Eugenia Usmanova, 15, El Camino Real

"I’m not for or against ditching, but it’s lame that students ditch because classes are boring. Anything can be boring. If teachers should be entertaining and enthusiastic, students should too. Maybe repetition is boring, but it’s a tried and true way to learn vocabulary and math. I don’t savor every waking moment of school, but accomplishing things I don’t like builds discipline."
—Krissi Dukes, El Camino Real HS

"I’ve never ditched because Cathedral has a rule that any student who ditches is immediately dismissed from school. I think it’s fair because the school is responsible for the students who go there and if anything happened to them the school could get sued."
—Berley Kerr, 17, Cathedral HS

"Neither I nor anyone I know of has ditched. My school is small, has security guards and a very strict ditching policy. We seniors have a Ditch Day, but it has to be approved by the teachers weeks beforehand. I have no desire to skip classes anyway, especially since mine are so difficult this year. If people are dying to get out of class, they can get a note to the sickroom and have their parents pick them up."
—Sarah Gustafson, 17, Immaculate Heart HS