School district officials this year are taking a hard-line approach in enforcing a two-decade-old policy that calls for ejecting students from school on their 22nd birthday — an edict they had routinely ignored in the past if overage students were on track to graduate.
The reversal is causing an uproar among students and teachers, who argue strict adherence is creating an unnecessary barrier for students — many of whom have already overcome steep odds — to earn a diploma, go to college, and build a better life for themselves in America.
In a school system that has been trying for years to boost graduation rates, even knocking on dropouts’ doors to lure them back to class, teachers say rigid enforcement of the age limit just a few months before commencement is nonsensical.
…A big issue at the time was that students were not told of the policy before they enrolled. This year, instead of amending the policy as teachers and administrators had hoped, the School Department informed students about the policy during registration. Students nearing the age of 22 were given the choice of enrolling — under the condition they wouldn’t be able to finish — or entering a part-time adult program.