A Hard Pass on the Hall Pass

NEWS: An analysis of the new hall pass policy. By Brianna Zampert and Kayla Dunlap. Published in the October 2018.

“%$#@ the hall passes,” says Leo Tallman, an angered junior, regarding the hall pass policy at East High School, instituted by Principal John Youngquist and Assistant Principal Shawne Anderson. This policy is not new to the East community. Youngquist and Anderson worked together during their previous tenure at East. Both saw a similar policy work in the past and hoped it would again limit student traffic in the hallways.

The East High administration hopes that the brightly-colored lanyards are a more hygienic alternative to the prior use of planners, but many students disagree. “It’s disgusting,” says one sophomore student, who preferred to remain anonymous. Youngquist, however, explains, “We were a little bit concerned about the cleanliness of the handbook.” Students expressed the perspective that the lanyards are still causing the same exchange of germs.

Limiting access to the bathroom and health office.

The administration reasons that the new hall pass policy will keep more students in class because only one student can go at a time from each class. Sophomore Willie Wortham disagrees, “I think the hall passes are trash…If you’re in the hall, [and] you’re not really supposed to be, it doesn’t really matter because everyone goes in the hall. I could have the pass in my pocket…I don’t know.  It’s stupid.”

Students wondered if the “one person at a time” system has the potential to impact students in a negative way, limiting access to the bathroom and health office. A sophomore says, “If someone takes a long bathroom break, or ditches, then the rest of us can’t go.”

Principal Youngquist told us during our interview, “I was in a classroom, and the teacher said,  ‘My pass has disappeared, what do I do?’ I took my ID and put it around the students neck and said go.” In that case, could a student not take a random lanyard or other classroom item, go into the hall and lie that they are allowed to be there? There are ways around the system, being only one of them.

Multiple students interviewed said that the hall passes reflect a distrust of students by the staff. “It’s like we’re middle schoolers. We have 18-year-olds walking around with hall passes,” an annoyed senior says. “They’re sort of a pain in the a– and show that the deans aren’t giving us much freedom,” another upperclassman states.

Couldn’t this money have been put to better use?

School budget data shows that East High School spent roughly $960 on the hall pass system, at a rate of $6 per teacher. From an economic perspective, this money could have been spent on fixing broken water fountains, or getting new supplies for the teachers. Couldn’t this money have been put to better use? Tallman states, “It wasn’t worth spending all the time and money… just creating and buying lanyards.”  

Although controversial, the hall passes have actually been somewhat successful. Some students support the new policy, “The hall passes are a good idea. I guess it’s working” one student says.

The prevailing student sentiment seems to be: If it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Obviously, the current administration believes there is nothing wrong with this new policy. Now the students’ only question left is, what’s next on the list of futile rules and policies at East High School?