The Waiting Room

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Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Open and Shut Case?

Posted by Seeking Solace |

I received an email from a student who wants to submit work in order to earn a passing grade. (Um, the semester ended two weeks ago.) The reason why the student did not submit the work was because he was in jail on an outstanding warrant.

Good grief, where have I heard that one before....

If I had known about the student's situation, I would have given the student an incomplete. Since I had not heard from the student, I submitted the grade based on the work submitted.

Before I even consider re-visiting this, I am going to need a ton of proof of this student's situation. While I doubt that someone would lie about being in jail, I am just not that comfortable with the situation. I guess it goes back to the fact that I used to defend criminals.

Honestly, I just don't want to do it. I know that sounds mean and unfair, but I gave this student several chances to make up the work. I have several email exchanges in which the student indicates that the work will be submitted. I sent an email stating that if I did not have it by a certain date, I would not accept it. Also, I don't know if allowing the make-up work would make a difference or be an exercise in futility.

So blog-friends, would you re-open a student's grade because the student was in jail and the make-up deadline has passed?

10 comments:

Inside the Philosophy Factory said...

This is just a more dramatic version of 'I didn't turn it in because I was sick, here's my doctor's note' and the note doesn't cover the days it was due. Getting sick or going to jail after the deadlines have come and gone doesn't warrant another chance.

I'd only consider it if they went to jail on or before the due date and got out after the last chance deadline. The fact that you have had e-mail exchanges with this character probably also means that they could have done the work and submitted it, no?

Kai said...

I don't think it's mean or unfair at all. I wouldn't revisit the issue at all. I think he could have found a way to contact you earlier to let you know of his situation. He had a lot of free time while IN jail to do the work and he didn't do it, so I'm guessing this all will end up being an exercise in futility anyway.

dr four eyes said...

Double check your school's policy on incompletes. At my school, students have to be generally passing the course in order to get an incomplete. I.e., they have to have completed all assignments (up to the last part of the semester), be in good standing, and be expected to pass the course were it not for some extraordinary circumstance (major illness, death in the family, and, I guess, jail).

Sounds like this guy wouldn't meet that standard: he wasn't passing when he disappeared, so he wouldn't get an incomplete.

Abbey said...

Hmm, my knee jerk response is no. I'm just not sympthetic to jail. Especially not sympathetic to jail because of an outstanding warrant. I'm also a stickler for the rules, so that plays a large part in my opinion.

On the other side of the arguement, kai makes a good point. Even if you give an opportunity, he/she probably won't do it anyway. So you can appear nice, but actually have to change the grade ultimately.

Seeking Solace said...

I think back to my defense days and if I knew my client was a student, I would ask him/her if it was necessary to contact his or her professors...

I checked my records and the issue of the incomplete is moot. This student probably wouldn't have qualified for one.

I am leaning toward saying too bad.

M in my diary said...

I'd only do that if someone had exhibited exemplary work and I thought it was someone I should work with and who needed a break, or I thought I'd made a mistake. Once grades are in, it's done.

Astroprof said...

I'm with you. It is too late now. And, if definitely isn't worth the trouble if he would not qualify for an incomplete and would not likely pass anyway. With several email exchanges, the kid had the chance to turn in work before jail. While in jail, he could have sent word of his situation to the dean of students to notify his professors, if he cared. So, you can deduce that he did not care about his college work until he got a failing grade for the class. Now, it is too late. Besides, what are you teaching him if you let being in jail be a "get out of jail free card" for everything else?

righteous babe said...

Incompletes can only be given if person was passing for the majority of the semester before issue (jail!!) occurred. So if student didn't meet those requirements I'd say "too bad, so sad"

RussianViolets said...

Um...no. 'Nuff said. Jail is NOT an emergency, and you are under no obligation to feel badly for this dude.

Anonymous said...

No! You already told him you would not accept work after a set date, and it sounds like you've given him several chances already. Maybe blowing the class AND spending time in jail will teach him some responsibility.
Barb

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