The Fault in Our School

Oakton’s Current Hall Pass Policy            

The current hall-pass policy at Oakton has been the subject of much controversy. While it is clearly more strict than previous years, there are many reasons why it has proven inefficient for our school. The amount of time it takes teachers to sign each pass takes valuable class time away, not to mention that the current policy does not prevent students from skipping class altogether. So is it really as effective as it is intended to be? 

As we get further into the school year, work is increasing and classes are picking up in intensity. Both teachers and students are trying to make the most of the ninety minutes they get in each class, but the hall pass policy is taking time away when students could be working. While it is important that all students are kept track of if they need to leave class, the excessive amount of time it can take for them to actually get out of the room interrupts not just their own learning but also their peers. “It is difficult to deal with because of the disruption it makes in class,” says Mr. Rich, a math teacher at Oakton. The process of leaving to use the restroom should only take a moment for one student, but valuable learning time is being lost to the entire class with the current policy.

Although the new hall passes are detailed in order to keep track of where each student is, there are still many people who are abusing the privilege of being allowed out of the classroom. Someone may say that they need to use the bathroom and end up disappearing for lengthy amounts of time. With that comes the fact that there are not enough available staff members in the halls during class to find the students who are ditching class. “I’ve never seen a hall monitor in Oakton and the school is way too big and they don’t have enough staff to do it,” says Chelsea Orellana, a freshman at Oakton. And if a staff member did see someone skipping class, they may see that the person has a hall pass and choose not to question them – even if the pass is actually unsigned or being reused from a previous teacher. The whole point of implementing such a strict policy is to make sure students are following the rules. But if they are not being held accountable anyway, it begs the question of why we have switched to such a strict policy in the first place.

The students of Oakton and many teachers are in agreement that the school’s current hall pass policy is not doing all that it is intended. Teachers having to stop the entire class each time someone has to use the restroom means it is lacking efficiency. In addition to that, the amount of students that continue to misuse hall passes by skipping class is concerning. It is necessary that the school has a policy that is both consistent and practical, two things which the current policy has proven it is not.