A Policy in Flux: Hall Passes Problematic

Jerry Hao, Contributing Writer

Going to the bathroom does not require second thoughts; we flush the toilet, wash our hands, and continue on our merry ways. But what we do not always realize is that during this process, germs are spread by a key element of our school’s hall monitoring system: bathroom passes.

For years, the bathroom passes here at Morris Hills provided a practical means of ensuring that students have a legitimate reason for leaving class. One look at the distinct, bright red, rectangle-shaped block, and no one questioned you. However, because of the bathroom passes used, many students cowered at the mere sight of them. Thinking of all the hands that had touched the pass in your classroom and all the places that pass had been was a deep concern to students.  

Recently, Morris Hills has replaced all the red plastic bathroom passes with lanyards that can be worn around students’ necks and hung on designated hooks in the bathroom stalls. According to Mr. Toriello, the idea was proposed by several staff members who were concerned about sanitation and the constant misplacement of the passes. By having lanyards with  identification of the classroom, passes can be returned accordingly.

For the most part, students at Morris Hills are happy with the new hall pass system. “I think they’re less clunky and easier to carry around,” sophomore Hannah Colon-Gold said. “It’s definitely better than the old hall pass system, but they need to add more command hooks in the bathrooms because sometimes, there are a lot of people in the bathroom at once.”

Senior Isabella Tenreiro agrees that the lanyards are “more sanitary and easier to use. But honestly, I don’t really see the point of hall passes in general.”

While the lanyard system is an improvement, some students still have concerns about cleanliness.  Kevin Mathew, an Academy senior, recently proposed an alternative bathroom pass procedure as part of the final project for his Technical Writing class. His proposal consists of replacing bathroom passes with a check-in/check-out system using the student IDs carried by every Morris Hills student.

“The idea is to have students swipe their ID cards upon entering and exiting the bathroom,” Kevin explains. “Since ID cards are typically handled by just the person using the bathroom, we’d be preventing the spread of germs.”

Kevin admits that while his project is expensive, it doesn’t directly enforce the school’s hallway rules as adequately as the current hall pass system. “If you don’t mind being stopped and questioned, then my proposal would work for you. It’s really all about what matters more: health or accessibility?”

According to Kevin, “It’s a small step, but definitely one that encourages better student health overall.”

“As Principal, I am completely open to alternatives to replace the hall passes,” affirms Mr. Toriello. “For the remainder of the 2018 – 2019 school year, you may use these new hall passes and you may continue to use the plastic hall passes as well.”