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Myth: If your teacher is 15 minutes late, can you leave?

Monica Ruiz

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School rumors can fly faster than updates on Facebook accounts.

Ever heard the rumor that if your professor is 15 minutes late you can leave? Well, don’t believe it. This is not a school policy, and in fact many FAU departments haven’t even heard of it.
“I’ve heard about it and always thought it was true,” explains Cassie Shashaty, a freshman social science major. “My teachers have never been more than 15 minutes late, but if they were, I would definitely leave because they can’t expect us to wait around all day. … They are late, and everyone else is on time.”

The UP called five different colleges and the only response we received was: “I’ve never heard of such a policy.” The Office of the Registrar, which organizes the University Catalog, and the Office of the Provost, which organizes university affairs, were the only two offices that could definitively say that the policy “never existed.”

Senior Ryan Smith thinks it’s wrong for students to leave class if a teacher is late.
“It’s an unwritten rule that people follow. I know about it and I think the people who do it are stupid,” says the communications major. “It’s irresponsible to leave after 15 minutes. If someone does that, it’s an excuse for them not to go to class.”

Follow FAU’s advice: If your professor is late to class, the students are expected to stay unless the professor informs them of a class cancellation. Students are still responsible for their absences and work missed if they leave early.


13 Responses to “Myth: If your teacher is 15 minutes late, can you leave?”

  1. Audrey Seningen on October 17th, 2011 9:06 pm

    How ridiculous! So students should be expected to stay and do nothing when a teacher is late? Where is the responsibility on the teacher’s side? As college students, we PAY for classes. I understand things happen, but a teacher who is routinely late and expects students to stay on their valuable time needs to be held accountable for his/her unprofessionalism. Why should we pay these ridiculous tuition costs if the professors are not going to take the students seriously?

  2. Jonathan Gonzales on April 28th, 2014 4:41 pm

    I feel if the teacher is going to be later that it is the TEACHERS RESPONSIBILITY to do everything in their power to let the students know. There’s a million and one ways to contact people to let them know something. Whether its the school site, Facebook, text messages or even a phone call. If my teacher is late and I got no notification, I’m leaving. Simple as that. I have other things to do to.

  3. Strawhberrie on June 5th, 2015 8:30 am

    Yeah, but why is it not a rule? The teacher is the one being irresponsible and not cooming to the class for fifteen minutes. My teacher literally stands out if the classroom for like about fifteen minutes each day and talks to other teachers.

  4. Sumi Kitamura on October 13th, 2015 3:04 am

    Doesn’t matter, if your manager/boss is 15 minutes late to work, doesn’t give you the excuse to leave work in 15 minutes. You still have to stay and do your job as expected. Maybe try to call your manager/boss. But that’s the responsibility on your part. Just because someone else is irresponsible doesn’t give you the right to be as well. Because that is your own screw up. The teatcher never made you screw up, it was you and you only.

    It’s like if someone steals from you. The only solution you can think of is to steal something from them. Well, woops there was a security camera. Now they have the item back, you’re in jail, they still have the item they stole from you, and they’re perfectly innocent and your sitting in jail with charges.

    So it’s best to not do the same thing to someone that they do to you, and it’s a good thing to start learning this lesson now.

    All you can do is try to report it to your princable or maybe try to have a talk with him on why all the teachers stand in the halls for 15 or so minutes before getting to class. Maybe he’s got the reason why.

    But there ARE some classes that has this policy, but some don’t. Doesn’t hurt to find out.

  5. Kevin Andres Daul on November 18th, 2015 7:15 pm

    Difference is, I’m not being paid to study, at least not yet, I’ll be paid in my job, not at school, so most students have this mentality

  6. adelaide on January 25th, 2016 8:49 pm

    I think that if your teacher is late to class it is irresponsible of the students to leave but the teacher should be o time so it is equally irresponsible for them to be late so I am fifty fifty on what I think.

  7. granny56 on October 25th, 2015 12:48 am

    Something needs to be done regarding this matter because, in every professor’s syllabus they state if a student is more than 15 minutes late they already are marked as a no show whether they stay for the remainder of class and do the assignments or not. So why no penalty on the instructor? Respect goes both ways.

  8. Conner mainly on February 23rd, 2016 3:57 pm


  9. Skyler simonson on March 7th, 2016 10:39 am

    But what if our in junior high school. I go to West Point junior high in UT are the rules the same in middle school

  10. James Scott on November 22nd, 2016 8:19 am

    This isn’t actually a made up rule. Many schools enforce this with their students, but if the teacher notifies the students of being late, then the students must wait. If the teacher or professor is later than fifteen minutes, as in they are not present in the building or in the room, the students may leave, it is up to the students to leave and notify the school administrator that the teacher was late. If the teacher shows up later during the class period, the students who left will not be excused (obviously) but it will be on the teacher to give them their missing work and tell them why they were late that day.

  11. Joseph Thao on December 6th, 2016 11:51 am

    I am in high school, and obviously I agree to both sides. Both viewpoints have a reason to as why students should leave or don’t. Personally I believe that students shouldn’t be treated less than a teacher when this happens, especially from the “Up”. The point made with the boss and manager example was great, but that has a different relationship towards a student and a teacher. That example just claims the link between “lower” and “higher” figures. As a highschool student, I do not like the thought of paying for a class that has lost 15 minutes or more for an unnoticed tardy from a professor. Shouldn’t the school ups give it more thought to this? Some teachers may use the “advice” for their own self to mess with the fellow students. Although teachers will most likely not (assuming they won’t), more thought should be given to this matter. Simply saying that students “use” this as an excuse to leave class is nothing but a mere opinion.
    Look at it from this angle: every student have a different life that have their own struggles already, and to be wasting time, money, and knowledgeable chances because of the late person. What is the purpose and meaning of a teacher? I believe it is to teach and prepare the students for the future.
    Opinion from a fellow highschool student.

  12. PJ on February 10th, 2017 4:35 am

    The comparison with the boss is ridiculous – a boss pays YOU, but YOU pay the tutor (via the university).

  13. Speed on March 9th, 2017 10:11 am

    Lol, this isn’t a myth where I live here in South Carolina . This rule was enforced in my middle and high school. It’s even in the policy/rules at the college I am currently attending . Funny enough, today, the substitute who was supposed to take place for my theatre teacher didn’t show up. So as soon as that 15 min mark hit , we all left .

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