Tardy to School Because of Hockey Practice - Consequence or No?

Updated on December 10, 2013
J.B. asks from Boston, MA
27 answers

Seeking your opinions on an issue that's dividing our "united front" parenting. My oldest son (15, 10th grade) plays JV ice hockey for his school. On Mondays, the team has practice from 5:30 - 6:45 AM, meaning they are stepping off the ice at 6:45. They are supposed to be in their homeroom at school by 7:30. The rink is 10-15 minutes from our house and home is 1/2 a mile from school. It takes a few minutes to remove his skates and equipment, so he's in the car at around 6:55 and back at our house by 7:10. Takes a quick shower, dresses for school, grabs his lunch, takes something he can eat on the run for breakfast and out the door we go. However, he has gotten to school at 7:31 and 7:32 AM both weeks (there are another 3 months of this schedule). My son reports that most of the team is late to school, with those who live further away being 15-20 minutes late.

We normally have a consequence for tardiness but I think that this should be waived - he's doing the best he can with a ridiculous schedule for a school-sanctioned activity and has been just barely late. My husband thinks that "we need to hold the line" and follow through with normal consequences.

FWIW, showering at the rink isn't really an option that would work for us - the showers are grody and not used often and allegedly don't have hot water (he wouldn't really know he's never used them) and more to the point, this would delay my picking him up to after 7 so I would then need to wake my younger boys and bring them with us for pick up because my husband leaves for work at 7 and drops my SD off at school when he goes. I can leave them home for 4 minutes while I run him up to school but 20-25 minutes round trip at their age isn't an option.

Obviously I believe that this is not a situation my son can control to therefore he shouldn't be punished for participating in a school sport that has a ridiculous schedule. Husband disagrees...what do you think?

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone! I see that we're generally in agreement here and appreciate having my sanity validated. This seemed like a no-brainer to me but before deciding that this is worth an argument figured I'd make sure I wasn't the only one who thinks this way. Every now and again I'm wrong ;-)

As for school...they have an automated system where if you're late, a call and e-mail go out to your parents and it hits your attendance record. Whether or not they'll waive detention for these guys when the tardies start piling up remains to be seen and at that point, it'll be time to address it with the coach and administration.

ETA: This is a new coach and last year, the practices ended at 6:30, allowing the kids to get to school on time without issue. I would imagine that we'll get a schedule change soon when it become apparent that an additional 15 minutes of ice time isn't worth the disruption of having 16 kids racing to school and arriving late anyway. It's only the second week of the season. I wish he were in bed at 8...they actually have games every Sunday night, many which don't start until 9 PM, meaning that the kids aren't in bed until 11. Definitely not healthy but it's a short season and just part of the sport...all the players, coaches and parents are used to the insanity of late night and early morning ice. For anyone who has a little kid playing...this is what you have to look forward to!

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I agree with you, except that I think the time to address the attendance record with the school and coach is NOW, before the tardies pile up.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

That is a really tight schedule. I wouldn't punish my son for the tardiness. I'd have a really tough time getting home, showering, and in school in under 45 minutes myself. Is this minute or two considered a tardy by the school? If so, I would reconsider the whole hockey thing to begin with, or talk to the coach. If the entire team is having trouble being on time to school then maybe he could end practice 10-15 minutes earlier. It just doesn't seem fair to the kids. And I've smelled guys after playing hockey, they DEFINITELY need a shower!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

If hubby wants to punish kiddo for being late then hubby needs to go to practice with kiddo every day for a week and then go home, do what he does, etc...so he can basically walk in his shoes before he makes a judgement that he should be punished.

I think the school should put them in hockey for first period and when they get back to school they do a study hall or something since they've already had class.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Houston on

Let me make sure I understand this, the school doesn't have an issue with the kids that play hockey for the school being a few minutes tardy... but you and your husband want to punish him.................????????????

13 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Wow, I've never punished my kids for tardiness, the school does that!
If the teachers don't care (some care more than others, and may even assign detention after too many tardies) and if you know he's not dawdling, why on earth would you punish him? Exercise is GOOD for him, it's not like he's sleeping in and being a slacker.
Does your husband get up and work out for over an hour in the cold before HE goes to work?
I think he (your husband) needs a reality check.
ETA: and it's only one day a week, seriously, what's the big deal (?!)

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't think he should get a tardy because he is on the JV team and at school mandated practice. Therefore, I don't think there should be a consequence from parents.

Many people think that athletes get special treatment and some may but the time frame you have posted is crazy for anyone to be able to rush and make it on time. I think the coach should either let them leave practice so they are not late OR speak with teachers so they know that these kids are not just dragging in late on purpose.

What is your hubby's idea of time management here?

I speak from some experience from having a daughter on JV and Varsity cheer squad with long practices and high demands. It was rare for the team to get to class on time right after a pep rally or a competition practice. Our coaches did make the school aware of the times in question and each teacher had a list of the team.

Good luck.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Milwaukee on

I see in your SWH that showering @ the rink is not an option... but what about if your son packs his clothes & breakfast, & showers/changes/eats @ school? This way, you are picking him up from the rink at a time that works in your schedule, but instead of going home, you take him to school, & the removal of a second transportation gives him the few extra minutes to not be tardy.

Obviously dependent on the facility availability @ the school. But if this is not an option, then as parents, you might need to talk to the school administrators & the hockey coach to find out what can be done so that all the boys are able to get to class on time. A minute or two isn't much (altho it is disruptive to enter the classroom late), but the boys who are 15-20 minutes late might be avoidable with some realistic scheduling of activities.

Good luck, & FWIW, I would not punish your son. It doesn't sound like his tardiness has anything to do with dawdling, or anything else that is within his control. T.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Boca Raton on

It's not his fault that the school can't procure better rink time for team practice.

To me it's a little silly to expect him to do something most adults would have a hard time pulling off.

If it's that important to get to school on time (thanks to a school team) then he should be off the hockey team (and that's certainly not my preferred result).

The school (and therefore your husband) can't have it both ways. And I wouldn't be issuing consequences at home either. A little common sense needs to prevail here.


5 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I agree with you. Does your husband want him to quit hockey? If not he should cut your son some slack. Your son is not missing any class time any way.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with you ... I also think the coach should be interceding on behalf of his players ....

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

ETA: From your SWH, I would work out something with the school so that your son showers there and is on time. Good luck.

Your hubby needs a reality check. Your son is playing a sport and practices before school starts. You get him back home and he takes a shower and gets to school a minute or two after the bell. Give him a break. He is doing well and maintaining his grades.

Until hubby does the routine he should be silent.

The other alternative is that he does not play a sport and then that might not work well.

Life is not easy and we all have to compromise.

Talk with the school about son getting to school late because of what you told us.

the other S.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

He is doing the best he can. He isn't jerking around playing "Hookey". He is trying his hardest to be a good,responsible, well rounded student. Cut him some slack! Let the school take care of consequences.

Heck..I am "tardy" alot to things but I give myself allowance because I am doing the best I can with all the things on my plate.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Its a school sanctioned practice, he's doing the best he can, and he's only a minute or 2 late. I wouldn't punish him. If he were "dilly dallying", dragging his feet, that would be a different story. I agree with you and your hubby should cut the kid some slack!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Columbus on

Does your husband have a better plan that would help your son get to school early? Unless he does, it's pointless to punish your son for something that is beyond his control.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Salinas on

I can't get over the fact that you punish a 15 year old for being tardy to school. Not only is that the school's job but at 15 you should really be allowing him to experience natural consequences that arise outside your home.

If I understand you correctly he is playing on his own school's JV team and your husband wants to punish him for being a minute late to school possibly one day a week. Sorry but that just seems crazy to me. Let him figure this out himself if there even is an issue. Rack it up to experience, life is full of "wrinkles" and you just have to figure out how to make it work.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

I don't think that he should be punished because he is doing the best that he can to be on time. However, the Coach and the school administration should be working this out so that the kids can make it to school on time...school should be their first priority. This is a school team so the hours should work around the school hours.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

How can he be getting enough sleep? And the known brain injuries that happen over time with hockey...just not worth it.

Late to school is the least of my worries in this case.

You sound stressed and so does he. Maybe this isn't the sport for him.
It is not worth turning your lives around for the worse, in so many ways.
5:30am is just not healthy! Unless he is IN bed by 8pm sharp.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Tampa on

The school should have an administrative override for the attendance system to turn off notifications for these students and this needs to be done for the students. This is not students being late b/c they are lazy they are late b/c of a school event.

Something else would be to have the tardies marked as school business (possibly have someone from the team - parent/asst coach/etc) text or email the school each morning a list of players b/c technically they are on school business and it should be counted as attendance (on time). SO that these players are marked as school business until they arrive at school.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

So many questions running through my head:
1) You give consequences for getting to school 2 minutes late? Are you military? (No offense, I love the military but it's not how to run a family.) More to the point - are you nuts?
2) Why aren't you calling the school to ask about changing the late notice for kids on the hockey team? I know this doesn't happen with basketball, track, football, lacrosse, etc becuase they practice after school. Hockey is unqiue becuase rink time is early mornings or late nights.
3) Are you happy that your son is playing hoceky or are you against it? I have to assume sports or hockey is encouraged in your family - so why would you penalize him for something he has no power to change?
4) do any options exist? Do you want him to get to school sweaty & smelly? (I have a teenage son and I guarantee that's not an option anyone who sits in a class with him will want.) Can he go straight to schooll & shower at school saving a trip home?
5) Does your husband want a good relationship with his son or does he want to be "the hardas$ dad" ? Tell your husband if he wants to maintain a good relationship with his son - and someday his grandkids he needs to back off and show some grace to your son. It's not even grace - since that's undesrved merit. But really - it's a real attitude killer if your husband is going to be so legalistic.

Pick your battles - teenagers are always trying to push the limits - it
s their job as they grow up to try to separate themselves from their parents. So choose which things are really important to take a stand on like drugs, alcohol, sex, safety, family first, not hanging around with the wrong people, good grades, etc. The 2-5 minutes are so NOT worth the stand and will only develop problems in the future.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

Are you freakin' kidding me? Your husband needs to lighten up and stop being such a bully. I'm still annoyed about the shower incident. Jeez.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I wouldn't give a consequence -- he's doing the best he can.

I would, though, include him in finding the solution. Sit down, have a family meeting, and ask him: "So, how do you want to solve this problem?" The adults who solve life problems best are the ones who have a chance to solve a few junior-varsity-sized problems as kids.

My own opinion, too, is that the coach is really responsible here. He either needs to be interceding with the school or shifting/shortening practice time. But it'd be great to have your son learn how to present the problem to the coach in a mature, effective way.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

This may not be a popular answer, but what is your punishment as the parent for allowing this? Why is he allowed to do a sport or extra cirricular activity that takes any time away from school?

Honeslty- I would be okay with this, but since you are not, and you are the parent allowing it, I think you are just as responsible as he is.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

Well, there's stuff he can't control, and there's stuff he can control.
He can get organized and have everything ready beforehand so all he has to do is get home, grab a shower, dress, and go.
His lunch should be made up the night before, his clothes picked laided out the night before, he can eat breakfast before leaving for hockey practice.
There must be a way he can absolutely minimize his tasks on those mornings during crunch times so he can get to school on time.
The school will be having a cow about all those tardy's sooner or later.
It's not so much that a consequence/punishment will help as getting organized will be better to fix the problem.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

It's way past time for ALL the team parents to meet with the coach, say that this is not acceptable (because school is the kids' job, not hockey) and tell the coach (not ask, tell) that the coach and the school administration need to work this out.


Tardies pile up and do have consequences. Around here, the parents have faced some consequences in our county for excessive tardies on a student's record.

If this is a school sport and your child is required BY school to be at a place outside school at certain times -- it is up to the school and the coach to deal.

Frankly I would not have my kid in a sport that required those hours unless the school could ensure that the students would not be counted as tardy (after all it's the school sanctioning the sport at an ungodly hour).

Two other thoughts:

First, if it's the same small handful of players who are repeatedly late but the majority of players make it to school on time - you would have no real standing to complain about the tardies. But it does sound from the post like most of the team is late. That already should have gotten the parents involved in telling the coach it's not acceptable. Where is the coach in all this? Has the school administration taken the coach to task? They should! Coach needs to work with the facility and start practice 15 minutes earlier if kids are arriving at school 15 minutes late. Why the heck aren't the parents angrier about this? Fifteen minutes late to school means missing part of a CLASS, not just some "homeroom" or announcements, in our school system. The teachers would be going nuts on the administration and the coach over this.

Second, you say your son doesn't use the showers at hockey because they're "grody" and might not have hot water -- but you and he don't really know because he's never tried. Time to TRY.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would talk to the coach and administration. I think that being late due to a team practice is different than being late because you didn't get up on time and missed the bus. My SS was often missing the bus and we charged him "cab fare" for having to run him to school when that happened. He stopped doing it.

What I would suggest your son do is be as fast as possible. He showers at night, and then after practice it should be as perfunctory as possible. Have all his clothes laid out and ready. It should be home. shower. dressed. gone. No dawdling about anything. In fact, put something in the car before you pick him up from practice to eliminate that step. As long as he tries, and the school gives him a pass, so would I.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i'm with you.



answers from Salt Lake City on

This one is on the hockey team coach, and you parents need to address it with him and possibly with a member of the administration present, since the coach probably can't do anything to fix the showers without the administration's support and $$. Either the school needs to clean and maintain the showers so that they are useable (no hot water in the winter is a dale-breaker) or the coach needs to shift the schedule so that his team is not forced to be late. It is not fair to the kids to put them in a situation where the price they pay for participating on a school team is detention for tardies.

As for your position on your son's tardies, I agree with you - beyond his control.

The next thing you and your spouse and the other team parents need to think about. If the coach and the administration refuse to do anything, do you pull your kid off the team so he won't be late for class?

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