Students pass their way through high school
With the “crack down” on hall passes, students are left with mixed emotions.
January 17, 2017
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The buzz of the “crack down” on hall passes leaves many of the students and staff feeling an array of mixed emotions within the walls of Biddeford High School.
In hopes of knowing where students are at all times, Athletic Director Dennis Walton feels the need for a hall pass is a necessity for the administration. On January 10, the administration held a staff meeting to notify the teachers of the need for hall passes.
“I think most of it is accountability,” said Walton. “It’s making sure teachers and administration knows where kids are at all times.”
For social studies teacher Jon Edstrom, the awareness of hall passes is something he appreciates. However, he wishes it didn’t have to come to this.
“People are wandering around with no proof of where they’re supposed to be,” said Edstrom. “I have to go out in the hall when I’m trying to teach kids because a bunch of [students] are out there being disrespectful, and they don’t have a pass.”
While students may wander around, senior Lyna Kheang believes that just because a student walks around with a pass, they may not intend to go where they’re supposed to.
“It gives them the opportunity to leave that class and walk around the school,” said Kheang. “They could never end up reaching the destination they told the teacher they were going to and use the pass to their advantage to walk around the school and not be ‘caught.’”
Walton knows hall passes aren’t easy to enforce. However, he feels if teachers and administration come together, they can make change happen within the halls.
“I think the biggest thing is, it has to be a group effort between teachers and administration,” said Walton. “I think that teachers have to write the pass for a student to get from one place to another. The places where they’re going, teachers need to accept the pass, or not accept them.”
While aware that students may view this as an insult to whether they have responsibility or not, Walton wants to make it clear it isn’t about responsibility.
“It doesn’t have anything to do with whether you’re responsible enough,” said Walton. “Most kids are responsible enough to get to where they’re going without a piece of paper in their hand. But, for accountability purposes we have to know where kids are.”
As an administrator of the school, parents trust Walton and the rest of the administrators to know where their children are at all times. If they don’t know where the students are, their parents would get understandably upset with the administrators.
“I think it’s seen as more of a pain for kids, that they’re old enough now and they should be able to move from point A to point B without a piece of paper,” said Walton. “That’s understandable, however when mom and dad call and say they need their son or daughter, [they] aren’t happy when we don’t know where they are.”
Students roaming the halls started to get out of hand for Edstrom, seeing several students in the hallway without passes while trying to teach his students.
“For HAMR time, there’s about 100 kids hanging out and they’re supposed to be in class,” said Edstrom. “So I have to stop, and I have to go out in the hall. One day I asked 50 kids, ‘Do you have a pass?’ ‘Do you know where you’re supposed to be?’ Go there.”
On the other side of the coin, Kheang still sits in the middle of the debate on hall passes. However, she believes that it’s not necessary for students who aren’t roaming the hallways.
“It might get rid of some wanderers,” said Kheang. “But it’s a hassle for teachers to have to sign passes every time a student leaves the room. Plus, the passes will most likely be left everywhere, which may cause the staff to pick them up if they’re left on the floor.”
In addition to the hassle it may cause teachers, Kheang also believes that the printing out of several hall passes everyday may lead to other problems.
Plus, it’s a waste of paper, said Kheang. “And they’ve been complaining that we’ve been using too much paper.”
No matter if students believe that hall passes aren’t a necessity for them or not, hall passes are here to stay.