Senior Skip Day–A Fun Tradition or a Waste of Time?

Senior Skip Day has been a tradition in the past. However, with changing times and the possible consequences, it looks like this event might be fading away.

Elsa Mitchell

Senior Skip Day, Senior Ditch Day– one and the same, this near-holiday is one that most high school students have heard of before. The event is meant to be one where the soon-graduating class takes the day off, often spending time with other members of their class. It appears this day has been around a while; it is called a tradition, and there are memories of the event tracing back years. 

However, here at West Salem High School, we haven’t seen a plethora of seniors gone on one day. There is still time, but it appears that the tradition of Skip Day has worn out. Is there good reason for this? Some say that Skip Day is a useless, harmful tradition, while others believe it is a well-deserved day off. Nonetheless, its popularity has fluctuated around the country. Although it may have died out in West Salem, it continues to occur elsewhere, following a long tradition of Skip Days. 

 

Are there Benefits to Skip Day?

Some sources claim that Skip Day has been around since the 1930s. If it has been around since then, it has certainly grown more popular, especially with movies like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and Senior Skip Day (2008). These movies emphasize the fun of skipping school, with main characters who hang out with friends, attend fun parties, and play practical jokes. 

There is certainly fun to skipping school– after all, having the day off is always fun. And it should be; with 180 days of school each year, every day off always feels well deserved and relaxing. However, senior skip day does not necessarily apply. Teachers often assign work on Skip Day because it is not an official day off, so seniors have to get caught up on their work. Skip Day will also give students an unexcused absence, and parents often have to call in to excuse this. 

Even with these difficulties, numerous seniors feel that Skip Day is a well-deserved day off near the end of the year. Willy Samsen from Byram Hills High School in New York said that “Senior Skip Day is very memorable because it’s the seniors last semester of high school ever together, and it is always fun when your whole grade is out of school at the same time.”

This seems to be a common opinion among seniors. A senior from Baldwin High School in Pennsylvania stated, “It was nice to be able to have a day to relax with my friends. By the time we are seniors, we deserve a day off of school.”

“By the time we are seniors, we deserve a day off of school.”

Even some teachers are willing to put up with senior skip day. The assistant principal at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska, Stacy Longacre, does not have a strong opinion on Skip Day. “If a student comes every day and does what they need to do every day, I don’t think skipping one day is going to make or break them,” the Assistant Principal said. However, she added that she thinks it is important that students who skip handle the consequences of their actions, “like an adult would.” This is echoed by many students from various schools, who say that being called out of school by a parent is not a “true skip day.”

However, many seniors have reasons not to skip school, or think that Skip Day is not a good idea. Some students say that their parents would not or did not let them skip school on Skip Day. One student at Baldwin High School had attended school every day since kindergarten– he had a perfect attendance record. “I have not made it this far from kindergarten to miss school now,” he stated. 

Other students know that work will be missed, like Eric Koffenburger of Kennard-Dale High School, who explains that Skip Day is “pointless really, and it’s not like the teachers hold work. You fall back a day on work.”

Our student handbook at West Salem High School has something to say about Skip Day:

West Salem High School does not recognize any type of “skip day”: 

The general rule of thumb when determining if a “skip day” has occurred is the “10% rule”. The 10% rule means if 10% of the student body or a particular group or grade level are absent on a given day, all students absent on that day may be determined to be unexcused. The only students who may be excused in this case are students who produce a doctor’s note, or if the absence has been pre-approved at least two days in advance.

Basically, a Skip Day is an unexcused absence, just like a regular truancy. This puts into perspective that although Skip Day may be fun, there are consequences to the event. 

 

Does Skip Day Still Happen?

Skip Day may be happening in other places, but as we can see, the senior class remains present here at West Salem. There could be many reasons for this: there may be too much to miss, or perhaps seniors don’t feel as stressed this year, or maybe they just haven’t had time to plan a Skip Day. In any case, Skip Day has not occurred this year. 

However, it appears that in other places Skip Day still happens in full force. At Middletown High School in Maryland, seniors have tried to plan at least five skip days this year. For them, no day seems to work out. 

“It seems that every one they try to plan fails,” says a junior at Middletown. A senior at the school adds, “We do like to slack.” He attributes the many planned Skip Days to “senioritis.” Both high schoolers say that it is very hard to communicate plans for Skip Day. 

“It seems that every one they try to plan fails.”

At other schools like Baldwin, senior classes on Skip Day consist of only a few students. Those who attended school did so for various reasons, but the majority of their class was gone. 

West Salem has had Skip Days in the past: I talked to a West Salem graduate of 2013, who says that her class did have a Skip Day. “I didn’t take part in it, but the people that did went to Pettibone Beach,” she states. 

However, a more recent graduate from our high school, who graduated in 2016, says that he doesn’t think they had a Skip Day. Or, perhaps he just doesn’t remember if they did. Either way, the once-memorable tradition no longer has the effect it once did. 

Overall, it appears that although Skip Day happens around the country, it hasn’t happened here in West Salem for a while. Perhaps seniors saw reasons not to plan this infamous event, or parents or staff persuaded them not to. In any case, the tradition of Skip Day at West Salem seems to have come to an end. 

 

Sources: 
Edwards, Olivia. “Senior skip day controversy.” The Catalyst, Millard West High School.
Parker, Kevin. “MHS students lose the true meaning of Senior Skip Day.” The Round Table, Middletown High School. 
Partee, Micah. “Senior Skip Day.” The Ram Page, Kennard-Dale High School. 
Scaglione, Olivia. “Senior Skip Day: A Memorable Tradition or An Unnecessary Absence.” The Oracle, Byram Hills High School. 
Solenday, Elizabeth. “It’s not ‘skip day’ for every senior.” Best of SNO, Baldwin High School.
“Student Handbook.” West Salem High School.