Students concoct reasons for failing to hand in homework assignments on time

by Vinny Bianco
and Dan McMillan
There are plenty of legitimate reasons for not completing a homework assignment: sudden illness, family emergency or natural disaster.

And then there are the excuses students typically offer when they have no real reason for not having their homework. Whether they are funny or just plain absurd, these are the excuses that nobody takes seriously.
“I had a student tell me that she thought I had told her twin [about the assignment] and not her,” said math teacher Kenneth Ellsworth.
Variations of the dog-ate-my-homework­­ excuse abound. Junior Hailey Weber told a teacher “My bunny ate it,” while junior Tyler Haack blamed his goldfish. Science teacher Sweta Gandhi got perhaps the most original version when a student told her, “I ate my homework.”
The failure of technology has supplied students with weak excuses for many years now. Computer-aided-design teacher Luis Rodriguez heard what he considered a particularly ridiculous excuse concerning technology. “A student told me he was locked out of his own computer so he couldn’t do the assignment,” Rodriguez said.
Social media now offers students a whole new realm of potential excuses. Social studies teacher Matthew Tiedemann had a student say, “My friend forgot to post the homework on my Facebook wall.”
German teacher Dorothy Orme gives all her students a pink slip to fill out when they fail to complete an assignment. Senior Sam Brown took this as an opportunity to write a detailed two-page story on being a CIA agent in Russia abducted by aliens, which made it impossible to do the homework. Orme enjoyed the story so much that she decided to hang up the pink slip so all her other students could see Brown’s creative masterpiece.
While not doing homework can have obvious negative educational effects on the students themselves, sometimes their classmates suffer, too. Who hasn’t had to wait patiently for class to start while a student makes a big scene of desperately scouring his backpack, folders and notebooks for the clearly nonexistent homework, all the while claiming “I know I did it!” and “It’s got to be here somewhere!”
That’s when it can be a relief to have a student take a philosophical route, as senior Robert Sidebottom did: “Homework does me.” Even junior Robert Zukofsky’s “It got caught on fire” had a kind of suspenseful excitement.
In the end, there is always the truth. “I didn’t do it,” said junior Nick Demmel. No one can argue with that.