Open end policy approved at Darien High School

Second-semester seniors will have the opportunity to leave Darien High School early or arrive late thanks to a new policy starting in January.

The Darien Board of Education approved the open end policy at its Tuesday, April 23, meeting.

The approval was met with applause from a standing-room-only crowd of students and parents.

The policy change, brought forward by Riley Sousa, Courtney Kyritz and Katie Farren of the Darien High School Community Council, has been in the works since the beginning of the school year. The idea was first proposed in 2011.

The policy allows second-semester seniors with a 2.5 grade point average or higher and with no major disciplinary record to be leave campus in an effort to promote a heightened sense of responsibility to prepare them when and if they enter college in the fall.

"If we don't trust our students to leave campus and be responsible, then we haven't done our jobs," said board member Susan Perticone.

Perticone and member Sarah Zuro expressed their gratitude and stated how impressed they were with the cohesiveness and depth of research in the proposal from the underclassmen.

Currently, students can arrive to school late only if they have a written note from one of their parents. Students without parental permission are issued a tardy, according to principal Arlene Gottesman.

The students showed that neighboring towns such as Wilton, Greenwich, Weston and Ridgefield already have an open end policy in place. Darien's policy is more restrictive than the other towns, the report found.

Students who left at the end of the day would not be allowed to return to campus for extracurricular activities until after dismissal at 2:20 p.m., Assistant Superintendent Matthew Byrnes said.

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Darien students would be required to have parent and administrative approval. The privilege could be revoked at any time.

mspicer@bcnnew.com;203-972-4407;@Meg_DarienNews