Hall Passes—Effective or Unnecessary?

A photograph of a yellow hall pass
Alexis Herrington
A photograph of the yellow variation of hall pass.

It’s a new year at Boulder High, and with every new year comes a new set of rules and regulations imposed on the schools’ students. Among this year’s enhanced rules concerning cell phones and student attendance is a new beastthe hall pass. This year, Boulder High has joined other public schools across the nation in the use of this infamous system of student regulation.

Boulder High is using two types of Hall Passes this year. There’s the reusable yellow passused to go to the bathroom or the water fountain, and the white pass, which is used if a student is going from their class to anywhere elseincluding the office, library, or another teacher’s class. 

When a student leaves the classroom, the teacher writes where they are going on the pass, and when the student reaches their destination, that pass must be signed off by a teacher/faculty member.

Boulder High is a large community of people with vastly varying opinions, and this truth is applicable to the topic of hall passes. 

Some people believe that the cons most definitely outweigh the pros. Senior Henry Cain said, “I feel like I’m back in fifth grade. I respect the reason [for why they were put into place], but it feels kind of unnecessary. I think we will have a lanyard-type situation, as in people won’t even end up using them.” 

Junior Alex Smith agreed. “We’re in high school, so I feel like we’re mature enough to not need to have them. There wasn’t even a problem [concerning students in the halls] before [this year].” 

Junior Margaret O’Neill brought up the hygiene aspect, saying she doesn’t want to touch them. 

This opinion is not exclusive to the student body—teacher Mr. Donaldson believes that although they “provide a system of accountability to keep students out of academic hallways,” they are “disgusting, like a gas station key.” While he sees the “reason, purpose, and value,” they still “gross [him] out.”

On the other hand, many people feel that hall passes are a positive addition to Boulder High. Lucy Coerver, a junior, said this: “I don’t think they are that bad because now you don’t have to ask teachers if you can go to the bathroom.” 

Another member of the community who is in favor of hall passes is Ms. Carroll, Dean of Students. She is in favor of them because they limit truancy. There are lots of kids ditching class, and with the use of hall passes, teachers will no longer have to question the motives of students in the halls. 

While Ms. Carroll understands that kids “want to be autonomous and govern themselves,” she urges that the liability of teachers be considered as well. With the hall passes, the teacher has a record copy of where a student is going and where they are. It provides “a way to monitor student movement.” 

Ms. Carroll also brought up the argument that there were a lot of students disturbing classes last year, and there needs to be a system to prevent that. She stated that teachers are “guardians ad litem”a guardian appointed by a court to protect the interests of a minor in a particular matter. 

Ms. Carroll also believes that “an open campus is the greatest gift to a high school, but also the greatest temptation for students.” She believes that, in reality, hall passes provide more freedom to students because students no longer have to be questioned for being in the halls.

The new rule involving hall passes at Boulder High is a very controversial topic. Some believe that they are unnecessary and unsanitary; others feel that they are effective. However, the true question is this: will this rule be able to last, or will we have a “lanyard-type situation” on our hands?