Imagine. You’re sitting in class and your teacher is in the middle of a long lecture, droning on and on and on. It’s almost unbearable, as 90-minute periods have many teachers preparing long lectures. Sometimes, you need a breath of fresh air to clear the fog of boredom in your head. Just sign out and grab the pass hanging next to the door, and then you’re free to wander. When you step out, you’ll see several students–at least–doing the same thing. They stroll down the halls, swinging the red-and-gold wooden rectangle on its lanyard, free from the mind-numbing classwork and lectures. “90 minutes stuck in a classroom is a lot,” freshman Alexis Delmonico remarked, “especially if you’re not having a good day. So, sometimes the hall pass lets us take a minute to just walk and recollect ourselves.”
I asked freshman Matthew Fritzche if students abuse the hall pass and he immediately replied, “Oh, yes. Very much so.”
“When you just talk at a student, they’re going to doze off, they’re going to doodle, they’re not going to want to be in there,” Marshall Hendricks, a senior, said. “[If] it’s just an hour-and-a-half lecture…kids don’t want to be sitting in that.” Students reported that a little five minute break to clear your head isn’t too bad, the equivalent of just taking a small bathroom break, but students who leave for 15+ minutes at a time abuse that chance, miss things in class and prevent other students from using the hall pass. They also said that roaming the halls isn’t because the student just refuses to do work, it’s because students are becoming so bored in class that aimlessly wandering the halls is a better alternative to copying down notes. “I think [students] used the bathroom pass less when we had 50 minute periods.” Mrs. Louchis, a Spanish teacher, observed.
Is there any way to stop students from abusing the hall pass? “They really can’t do anything but close the bathrooms,” Matthew said. The staff tried this one time, locking the boys’ bathrooms during class time, but locking the boys’ bathrooms only hurt the boys who actually needed to use the bathroom and the boys who used their phone in the stalls–but those students are only a fraction of the hall pass abusers.
“My math teacher gives us breaks [during class],” Alexis said, referencing her advanced geometry teacher. She also said that a little break during class makes it more bearable in terms of staying interested. Moreover, classes that had small, occasional breaks had fewer hall pass abuses than other subjects.
The consensus among students is if the staff wants to stop the abuse of the hall pass, certain teachers need to plan their 90 minutes with a little less lecture and use that extra time for a few little breaks.