Editorial | Nathan Kosmin
As Springfield Township High School students returned from Thanksgiving break, it appeared that the school administrators had done some Black Friday shopping of their own. New hall passes appeared in every class to little fanfare, but they bring a visible change to the hallways of STHS. Gone are the eclectic passes unique to every class, from Mr. Weidner’s business cards to Dr. Smith’s lobster. In their place are three nondescript colored rectangles: red for the nurse, yellow for the bathroom, and blue for the hall.
The first question that comes to mind is why? Ostensibly, the purpose of hall passes is to prevent students from roaming the halls during class. However, most every teacher was using hall passes of their own, having students sign out of their room, or doing both of these things before the new hall passes were introduced. What difference does it make to replace these systems with a new one? While it is a good thing to ensure that all teachers are now using hall passes, the fact remains that most already were, and it is wasteful to force these teachers to replace their current hall passes with ones that do nothing new. As Springfield faces budgetary concerns in other areas, one is forced to wonder if the money for these shiny new hall passes could have been used toward more paper for the school printers, for instance.
Similarly, the fact that a student has a hall pass does not directly stop them from roaming the halls. The hall pass only does its job if a hall monitor is present; otherwise it is merely an object the student has to carry. In order to actually affect the amount of hallway-roaming that goes on, STHS doesn’t need to merely create rules, but also enforce them. The hall passes are less important than ensuring that faculty and staff take measures to prevent students from simply taking the pass and going for a walk in the middle of class. Without the support of teachers and hall monitors, the hall passes are merely decorations for students to carry as they ramble through the hallways.
Finally, there is the question of aesthetics. As I mentioned, teachers were previously allowed to use anything they wanted for their own unique hall passes. These hall passes were a part of what made each teacher’s class unique. There was something about those special hall passes that were just as memorable as the way the classes are run, the things the teacher says, or any other part of the class. These garish eyesores inserted in each and every room eliminate one of
the special things that make each class at STHS unique.
Another thing that makes STHS unique is the creativity of our student body and the outlets provided to creative students. For a school that encourages creativity so much through art, video production, and much more, why stifle the creative outlet the teachers have in their unique and eclectic hall passes? Does it not ring hollow for a teacher to encourage their students to let their creativity flow when they themselves cannot even create a silly wooden cutout for their hall pass? The homogenization of the hall passes carries implications far beyond merely removing one of the little details from our favorite classes. It flies counter to Springfield Township High School’s vibrant community of creativity and free expression. It reduces unique personal touches teachers add to their classes to regimented, nondescript objects in the background, no longer unique and personal but uniform and unwelcoming.
This issue may seem petty, but the depersonalization of the hall passes is a detriment to our school environment. It is the details that create a welcoming environment in a school. The hall passes used to be just that type of small detail that could create a sense of fun or a bit of enjoyment, however small. Without that, the school environment is slightly less friendly to students, compounded by the fact that students begin to wonder why exactly the school would spend money to replace their precious business cards and lobsters. As these small offenses pile up and up, the school’s very makeup and atmosphere is changed. These types of decisions can create a poor impression, as they are highly visible and affect every student and teacher in some small way. Petty as it may be, this is the exact type of change that can alter student opinion of the administration the most.