Welcome back everyone, for today’s blog post I will using the structure of a play to identify one of the biggest problems in high schools today, hall passes.
The characters in this play focus on three major groups. The students who roam the halls, the teachers who are wondering where their students are, and the Administration who is tasked with keeping students safe and out of trouble while they are in the school. When students leave the classroom there is a lot of trust placed in the students to make the proper decisions to stay safe and out of trouble. It is a delicate balance that requires everyone to operate with a certain amount of trust.
The props in this play represent an incredible range between the old and the new. The old (and current) model is a raggedy hall pass. A crumpled piece of laminated paper, attached to a string that accompanies students to the washroom approximately 20-30 times a day. The future we envision is drastically different. Instead of a tattered and completely unhygienic paper hall pass, students can now use their cell phones as a hall pass. With the aid of Eduspire Solutions, we envision a future where students use their device as a hall pass, which also has the added benefit of allowing teachers to track their location and time spent outside the classroom.
The scenes for this school play take place mostly outside the classroom. Instead, the issue of hall passes take us to the hallways, the concourse, the washroom, and potentially the principal’s office. In the current practice, when a student leaves the room the teacher has no idea where the student is headed, forced to go by only the word of the student. Therefore, in the event of a security situation, such as a lockdown or secure the building, teachers may not know the location of the students and if they are safe. Unfortunately, the other scenes have to take place in the principal’s office. Over the past year, the main cause of suspensions in high schools has been the use of Vape Devices on school property, usually in bathrooms during school time. One hope of a new hall pass is that we can use the technology to lessen the number of students smoking on school property and get these students back in the classroom, and not in the office getting suspended.
In most plays, the conflict is where the action takes place and our play is no different. In our two weeks preparing for this major project, we have encountered a number of boisterous opinions on both sides of the argument. Supporters of the digital hall pass have a number of different reasons focusing on two main factors, Punishment and Safety. The punishment crowd, believes that students are making plans and meeting in bathrooms to vape during class. They believe that the digital hall pass will allow us to track these students and catch them in the act, leading to a suspension. The safety crowd, has a different perspective. They believe that we need to have knowledge of our students whereabouts at all times, not to trap them in wrongdoing, but to protect them. Unfortunately, attacks at schools continue to grow and in the event of a lockdown, we can only protect students if we know where they are.
As mentioned earlier, the opponents of a digital hall pass are just as passionate against the project as the supporters are in favor. Criticism has mostly focused on the idea of Big Brother, and whether teachers need to have this level of control and oversight over the lives of their students. Furthermore, in a day and age where data and privacy are constantly under attack, opponents wonder who will own the data and for how long will it be stored. The final criticism I’ve heard is whether a plan such as this will even help school safety. Or is it just presented as such to provide a reason to spy on students.
All of these are valid reasons on both sides. I look forward to moving forward with this project so that I can write the end to this play.