Last month, the administration implemented a new policy that requires students to wear a hall pass when leaving a classroom. According to the administration, this policy has been enforced in order to distinguish between those who leave to go to the bathroom and those who are ditching class.
Assistant Principal Lisa Warnke explained that the policy was enacted to easily identify those who should or should not be in the halls.
“I instituted the hall pass policy so that our campus aides and any of our office staff, or even teachers, don’t always have to ask students why they’re walking around,” she said. “They don’t have to pick and choose who they ask and who they leave alone. It’s [also a] safety concern … if there was an emergency or something, we would know where everybody is.”
Campus safety staff have expressed concern about the number of students out of class.
“[The hall pass is] more just to keep control of the students and let us know who’s supposed to be out of class and who’s supposed to be in the halls,” said Campus Safety Specialist Jim Brock. “We’re just trying to limit a lot of kids who are just wandering around without any passes, and teachers letting more than one student out. There’s just chaos during the day.”
According to some students, the implementation of this policy from class to class seems to vary.
“Not a lot of my teachers implemented [the hall pass policy],” said junior Isabella Berenstein. “In the past week, I have definitely asked teachers to go to the bathroom and not taken it. I don’t know how well they are implementing it. I didn’t know this was a thing until [one of] my teachers [said,] ‘Take the pass.’”
This hall pass policy has generated mixed opinions.
“I think it’s both good and bad because of how teachers are able to keep track of who’s out of class,” said senior Katelyn Wong. “[But] I don’t know if taking the hall pass to the bathroom is very sanitary, so that’s a bad thing. I do not go out of class that often [go only] for a couple of minutes.”
Other students have also raised concerns about possible inconveniences and overall effectiveness of the hall pass.
“Teachers can’t send multiple people at a time,” said sophomore Anastasia Yang. “If [multiple] people want to come to the library to print something for a class, and then go at different times, then it’s less efficient … It’s kinda like middle school … Some people walk around the halls without a pass because they don’t have class at that time, so I don’t think that it’s really useful if the purpose is to see that students are staying in class. Students can just say that they don’t have a class that period.”
Brock gives the rationale of the one hall pass per classroom policy.
“We were getting too many students out of the classroom,” he said. “Some teachers get four, five, six students out at a time. They just end up sitting at the tables. When we would ask them, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing?’ they say, ‘We’re just hanging out here. Our teacher said we can come out here.’ We get 50 bazillion excuses, and then teachers complain that they can’t focus their classes because there are kids making noise in the halls. We just want to keep it as much of a learning environment as possible.”
Currently, the administration is working on accommodations for students who T.A. or who do not have seventh periods.
“We’re working on getting all the T.A.’s a little card or a pass type thing that says what period they T.A for and with whom,” Warnke said. “We’re working on making sure that all the students that do not have school periods have a little card or something like that, so we don’t have to come verify with somebody at a computer to see if the student really has class or doesn’t.”
Additional reporting done by Emily Xu.