Administrators implement new directive for students leaving classrooms


Raphael Semeria

Tiffany Ou-Ponticelli conducts at Midwest

On Jan. 10, at the beginning of second period, administrators announced over loudspeaker the implementation of a new bathroom pass system. Students are now required to carry a red pass out of class to use the bathroom and were instructed to take no longer than 10 minutes before returning to class. Assistant Principal Courtney Carlomagno explained that these measures are to ensure both student safety and equity. “We notice that oftentimes, students [are] out and about and certain students are being approached more often than other students,” she said. “[They say], ‘I see other students who look different from me, and they’re not being asked why they’re not in class.’”

Administrators are also concerned about not being able to locate students in case of emergency as well as discerning between students and campus visitors. Assistant Principal Harvey Newland explained the importance of identifying students versus strangers. “Last semester, there were people who came onto campus and sometimes it takes a moment to figure out what their business is,” he said.

Students and teachers, however, have expressed frustration over the bathroom passes, calling it overstepping or not truly equitable. Junior Toni Minion said that the passes provide a superficial solution to a deeper issue. “[The hall passes] are the wrong way to solve administrators’ issue of biased reporting,” she said. “For example, Hispanic students or Black students are always being asked what they’re doing [out of class] even if they’re working quietly. If they’re going to patrol the [campus] and make sure everyone’s in class, they should either ask everyone who’s loud, ask everyone or ask no one. I don’t think the answer is huge passes that are around [students’] necks and are unhygienic.” 

Minion added that the passes are an unnecessary addition to teachers’ list of responsibilities as well. “It’s not really fair to teachers who are at risk of getting sick, and also places more load on [them] in that they have to monitor how long students are gone and how many can go,” she said.