As a solo parent with a disability, and parent of a child with a disability, I know it makes all the difference if someone reaches out to me and compassionately listens, especially when things are going awry.  Along those lines, has anyone talked with the student?  Is the issue unstable childcare, costs for better and more reliable childcare?  Transportation (bus schedules to childcare then to school?  A child that has special needs?  Are there issues at their home that are causing complications?  Does the parent have any assistance to help alleviate issues?  As educators, helping our students prepare for life outside of college, even those with more challenges than most, it would be helpful to gain the trust with students to learn what is behind surface issues, i.e., being consistently late.  Part of the work I do is to help students coaching them to problem-solve issues and to work with them learn about--and access--resources.  I am betting that the student is highly stressed about being late, and maybe at wits end.  I've been there, and it can seem like it is Ground Hog Day every single darn day.

So, yes, the faculty should expect students to promptly attend class.  But, locking the door may be unsafe most days.  Using the Yes, And principle, I suggest this: I urge you to walk alongside the student to help them find solutions to whatever is going on.  They probably have a millions strengths, yet need to figure out how to pause and grab one to organize things more productively.


Janet E. Mallen, M.S. and I'm first gen!                                                                                                      
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On Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 11:35 AM Lynn Schmitz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Well said Debbie!


Lynn Schmitz

Program Director


ACCESS Peer Assisted Learning

Division of Academic Affairs

Williston Hall 100 E | DeKalb, Illinois 60115-2828

815-753-0499 | [log in to unmask]





The secret in education is to respect the learner.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


From: Open Forum for Learning Assistance Professionals [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Debbie Malewicki
Sent: Wednesday, February 6, 2019 12:37 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Not normally handled in my office


This view may be less popular, but I would respect the faculty member's very appropriate policy.  I also respect any faculty member who chooses to lock the door more than a few minutes into class time, which we all know is how numerous people in the profession have worked for generations. I find myself a little irritated with the suggestion of treating this situation as a disability, especially as I grew up with one and have increasingly seen faculty push for these types of exceptions for other improper reasons.  The ADA laws and special services are for people dealing with something they have no ability to change--impairments in vision, hearing, mobility, and learning.


The student's situation entails choices, however limited.  She chose to register for this section of the class, apparently knowing she lacked childcare for its start time.


If you pressure the faculty member to change their policies you create: 

- a climate that will result in many more parents pushing for the same exception

- disruptions to this and other faculty members' classes

- an inevitable expectation that since the students are arriving late for what the school has deemed an "acceptable reason" the faculty members are now responsible for somehow communicating or making up that lost material to them

- an expectation on the part of the student that her situation will be treated similarly as she goes through her program, and 

- the message that in the workforce this kind of situation would be acceptable.


To clarify, I'm not unsympathetic, especially as a single mom. However, employers give you a start time and require you to be there and ready to go.  


I recall speaking with HR some years back about an employee with a documented situation (OCD) covered under the ADA that he wanted to use to excuse frequent often very late shift arrivals and was told in no uncertain terms that there is no part of these laws that permits someone to show up late to their shifts consistently.


Do I think that it's acceptable for this student to show up once or twice during the semester for this reason a little late? Absolutely, but you haven't indicated that the faculty member is dealing with that situation or even that he or she hasn't provided that kind of leeway, albeit with a little damage to the student's grade. There shouldn't be any meaningful impact on her grade if there are fewer than one week's worth of instances in relation to her attendance. Anything more requires the student to step up and recognize that she made an obligation knowing the class start time and that she is responsible for following through.


What I might do, in terms of an accommodation here, is promptly help her move to another section where she does not have a conflict or, if it does not exist for this semester, work with your registrar and bursar's offices to grant her a full refund for the class until she can take it without a conflict. I would do it with the caution for her to plan better in the future and that you are making a singular exception.


I love parents who are striving to better their lives for themselves and their children. I have nothing but respect for them, including the numerous single parents and even teenage single parents I have taught, especially in my years in the community college system. Almost all of them experienced one or two late arrivals, but they made it to the other classes on time. I encourage you to hold this young lady to the same standard.

Debbie Malewicki, M.A.
Integrity 1st Learning Support Solutions, LLC
Email: [log in to unmask]
Cell:  (475) 238-5635
Office: (203) 800-4100


On Feb 6, 2019 11:43 AM, Louis Burkwhat <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

I received this email this morning.  I want to provide some level of support.  I am not sure there is anything that I can push through other than human kindness.  Thoughts? 




I have a student that arrives to class 15 minutes late every session due to childcare issues.  The adjunct's syllabus docks a drastic amount of points.  This is a life situation that the student can't find a solution for and I was wondering if there is any accommodation that could provide some coverage for the student.


Let me know what you think,





Louis Burkwhat,  M.A.E., M.Div.

Director Academic Success Center

530-226-4979 office

X2979 ext.

530-226-4864 fax

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