Why Attendance Policies Hurt Disabled and Chronically Ill Students

By Molly Emily: For Complete Post, click here…

Going into a college class on the first day can be an overwhelming experience. Will my professor like me? Will the assignments be interesting? Will the course load be manageable?

However, for disabled students, the questions have higher stakes and are much more personal.

Is this professor going to understand my disability?

Are they going to fight me over my accommodations?

Am I going to end up losing points for attendance because of a chronic illness I can’t control? 

As a disabled student, the first thing I do when I get a syllabus is flip to the attendance policy. Last week at the beginning of the semester, I ran into a policy that was especially daunting and ableist. It stated that you could miss class four times without penalty, after which 2% of your final grade would be deducted for every class missed. On top of that, leaving early or showing up late to class could count as a complete absence, and students with only one absence would be rewarded with an additional 3% added to their grade.

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