“We’re All Adults Here”

Implementation of school rules is unrealistic and ineffective

Charley Thomas, Editor in Chief

As a student, you hear it often. It echoes throughout classrooms, bounces down hallways and precedes new policy announcements. 

“We’re all adults here” — a phrase that, ironically, is almost exclusively followed by rules or regulations that draw painfully clear distinctions between faculty and students. 

Take the infamous phone “caddy” for example; any adult would scoff at the notion that his or her phone is best kept hanging on the wall for the duration of a staff meeting. 

The fact is, school rules face the daunting task of attempting to govern 14- through 18-year-olds in a manner that is both effective and respected. Demand too little, and the student body is disorderly. Demand too much, and the entire slate of regulations gets tossed out the window by those it seeks to guide. 

As of late, the policies at Blue Valley have unfortunately fallen on the latter side, focusing so much on discipline that valuable lessons of independence, responsibility and mutual respect are left unlearned. 

Arguably the greatest shift in the rules this year comes with hall and bathroom passes. In an effort to keep track of where students are at all times and ensure they aren’t wandering around the building, BV now requires students to have a pass anytime they leave a classroom. 

In theory, this is neither impractical nor unreasonable, but in practice, the logistics just don’t work. 

If I’m doing homework in a study hall and come up with a question for one of my teachers, I can’t swing by their room unless I have a hall pass written either a few hours — or even days — in advance. Thus, the rest of what should be productive time is spent sitting there waiting for my next class because I can’t move past the question or concept that confuses me. 

As someone heavily involved in after-school activities, this makes many of my teachers highly inaccessible. Additionally, it seems comical that after building a spectacular new extension onto the building with plenty of collaborative space, students are seldom allowed to work in the hall. 

Bathroom passes face a similar logistical struggle in trying to control biology — if three students have to go, only one or two can leave at a time. Having an arbitrary number to limit restroom use insinuates students, some of whom are legal adults, can’t handle the responsibility of going to the bathroom. 

How then, can these same students be expected to responsibly manage seven separate academic courses? How can they be trusted to drive themselves to school and park in the lots on property if they can’t handle the commute to the toilet? 

Personally, I’ve never witnessed an adult being asked “Is it an emergency?” to determine the severity of their need to pee. It’s understandable that certain measures be taken to monitor students who have misused their independence in the past, but for the masses, strict regulation like this is unnecessary. 

Next up on the list is the elephant in the room — phone usage, or lack thereof, during class. 

Policies vary on this issue from classroom to classroom, but it’s safe to say there is a good number of teachers who have enacted full bans. It’s true that phones are distracting, but locking them up in bags or displaying them in a phone caddy doesn’t give students the opportunity to develop virtues such as self discipline, independence or respect. 

Each student learns differently. There are people who can be on their phones throughout lectures and remember every word, and there are also people who require 100% uninterrupted focus to absorb material. It’s up to the individual to determine how they are going to learn successfully. After all, the real world doesn’t have an iPhone task force to keep people in check. 

While this has been a generally harsh critique, that is not to say all school rules must be abolished. Anarchy is not the solution. There are some policies, such as the one BV has put in place against door-propping, that serve to protect the safety of the school and everybody within it. 

BV needs some form of regulation in order to protect learning experiences in the same way. We are not all adults here — not in actuality, and certainly not in the eyes of the school rules. 

It’s about finding a balance between cultivating independence and maturity while still maintaining an orderly and productive environment. It’s about guiding, not controlling.