Context: We're discussing about how we used to get penalized in school for being late to classes, many years ago.
I wanted to say:
In my old school, it was hilarious to see my late friends get penalized.
Here, late friends is supposed to mean that they were not on time. But to me, it almost sounds as if I'm talking about my friends who are now deceased.
How else can I refer to a person who is late?