New Hall Pass Policy Is Ineffective

by Emory Gun ‘22

Recently, the Sherwood administration implemented a new hall pass policy that entails a uniform paper pass signed and dated by teachers for each student that leaves the classroom. This new system is ineffective, causes unnecessary pauses in classes, and is wasteful.

It seems that this strict new policy is a response to an increasing number of students spending long periods of time in the hallways instead of class. Security is unable to decipher which students were allowed by teachers to leave class and which ones have left class without permission. This issue of unaccounted-for students became dire when a bathroom shooting took place down the road at Magruder. Of course, it is crucial to increase security after a tragedy; however, Sherwood’s response is inadequate.  

Teachers having to pause classes every time a student has to go to the bathroom is impractical. These disruptions take away from class time and break focus. With the old system before the pandemic, a student could quickly ask if they could use the restroom and then quietly take the lanyard pass and leave. Now, the teacher has to take time away from other students to write a pass. 

This new system also increases the possibility of teachers saying no to students using the bathroom. If a teacher does not want to pause in the middle of the class, they could just tell a student that they cannot use the bathroom at that time. But what power does someone have to tell another person–a young adult–that they are not allowed to use the bathroom? It is understandable that teachers should know where their students are, but they should not be able to refuse a student from a basic human need. 

The previous lanyard system is more sustainable, less wasteful, and overall better for the environment. There were some issues with the old lanyard system when teachers did not enforce using a pass but that same issue already is occurring with the paper passes as well. The difference is that it’s more understandable now while teachers are growing tired of stopping instruction to write a pass. In the past Sherwood has created new protocols for students and staff to follow, but they usually do not last very long. This is evident with hall sweeps from last fall, which lasted less than a week. So, as history has shown, this new hall pass policy probably will not last at Sherwood. But that is the fault of the policy, not of the students or teachers.