Is the 15-minute Rule Real?

Students love to hope for the 15-minute rule, which says students can leave class if their teacher is 15-minutes late. But does the rule actually exist?

By Cadence Gerlach

MYTH Questioned: Is it legal for students to leave if their teacher fails to show up after 15 minutes?

It’s the age-old question every student hopes is the truth. If the opening bell rings and my teacher is nowhere to be seen 15-minutes later, am I allowed to leave? I searched the internet for answers, I got student opinions, and I conversed with the administration on the subject.

The Internet Says

Most people know about the rule, but it seems to run purely on the “he said, she said, I heard” principle. Most students who tried were busted, since there isn’t usually a rule in a school’s handbook saying that leaving is allowed. But in colleges it doesn’t usually have an effect on the student since they aren’t required by law to be in class.

The Students Say

Students at the high school and college level both feel like teachers’ attendance is just as important as students’ attendance. College students especially feel this way because they are more than likely paying out of pocket for their professor to teach them. Sitting in a classroom waiting for your teacher is a waste of your time, and it would be unacceptable to expect students to wait for a teacher when they aren’t even sure that they’re coming.

Administration Says

At Central, there is no standing rule in place enforcing the “15 minute rule.” Mandy, the principal’s secretary in the main office, said, “You should always tell the administration if you’re worried your teacher hasn’t shown up to class.” Like students, sometimes teachers run late, though it’s usually because they’re held up in the hallway, and we haven’t heard of a single time a teacher has arrived to class as late as 15 minutes. If you leave before your teacher arrives, you risk getting a teacher’s cut or unexcused absence.

 The Verdict

This myth is busted. If you’ve ever heard someone tell you it’s okay to leave if your teacher doesn’t show on time, they lied. Not that they knew they were lying, since the best myths are spread by word of mouth. This myth has passed the test of time but the truth has come out, and not in the students’ favor.

Feature Image, “市川学園旧校舎” by naosuke ii on Flickr.