by Izzy Pilot ‘18
Early this school year, The Warrior reported on staff dissent over the number of students wandering the halls during class. Despite assurances that the problem had been contained, frustration remains, and administration is actively seeking new methods to keep students in the classroom and out of the hall.
“The week before the end of first semester, it seemed that behavior had gotten a lot worse,” said social studies teacher Katherine Jaffe, who is one of two elected faculty representatives on the school’s Instructional Leadership Team (ILT). ILT reached out to staff during the third quarter to hear their concerns; many teachers reported foul language, disregard for authority, and disruptive behavior among students in the halls. Staff recommended possible solutions to both hallway behavior and general insubordination, which were then sent to administration. The recommendations include universal hall passes, hall sweeps, and a greater adult presence in the halls between classes.
Spanish teacher Maria Peterson sees the flaws in the current approach. She points out more effective, organized methods being used by schools such as Quince Orchard. “Before leaving the classroom, students must put their phone in a designated bin so that they cannot communicate with friends and organize meetings in the halls,” said Peterson. They also have different colored passes for each floor of the building so that students do not stray too far from their respective classroom. Whether Sherwood decides to mirror this approach or not, Peterson believes that she is speaking for all teachers when she says that the school needs a concrete plan for keeping students in class. Administration’s first step in combatting insubordination is increasing their presence in the halls to encourage students to get to class.
“We are making a more concerted effort to be visible to students,” said Assistant School Administrator Sapna Chaudhry. While this approach has toned down the situation, it also comes with costs. “If we are out in the halls, then nothing gets done in our offices,” said Chaudhry.
The next step being taken is an enforcement on hall passes. While nothing has been mandated, some resource teachers have reached out to their respective departments and requested that teachers issue passes any time a student leaves the room. “Teachers seem just as reluctant as students when it comes to passes, so they aren’t enforcing them as strictly as I think administration would like,” said senior Nick Huff. And Huff’s observations are correct – in a random survey of seven teachers from seven different departments, only two admitted to regularly issuing bathroom passes. “It would be more effective if teachers promoted a ‘pass culture’ rather than administration just cracking down on everyone,” said Huff.
Administration highlights the importance of working together as a school to solve this issue. “We are only five administrators and five security guards; only 10 people for over 1,900 students. It is the whole faculty that needs to take part in addressing this behavior. Teachers should be out and about in the hallway greeting and addressing students. We need everyone’s help to make this a more disciplined, more effective learning institution,” urged Chaudhry.