Spanish teacher Sarah Masterson had both of her bathroom passes missing for a few weeks. Because of this, students weren’t allowed to use the bathroom, “None of my kids could use the bathroom because we didn’t have any bathroom passes left,” Masterson said. Additionally, Masterson put a sign up next to where passes usually hang that read “no bathroom until pass is returned”.
Since bathroom hall passes were implemented at the start of the year, there have been some conflicts with the system, including passes going missing and students not using passes properly.
Passes have gone missing for some teachers
World language teachers Sarah Masterson and Brian Fish and language arts teacher Jennifer Pautz are some teachers who have had issues with passes going missing throughout the year.
Masterson noticed her passes disappeared early on in the school year.
“When my first one went missing, a student had taken it into the bathroom and didn’t want to take it into the stall. So she set it out on the paper towel dispenser and when she came out of the stall, it was gone,” she said.
As each teacher started with two hall passes, Masterson still had another pass left. However, soon after, the second went missing.
“Then my second one went missing. I think what happened with that one was that I think a student just put it in their pocket and then forgot to put it back when they came back into the classroom,” Masterson said.
Masterson was missing both of her passes for around two weeks before the second one showed up again.
“But then I got an email from another teacher in the building who said that it appeared in her class and so she put it in my mailbox so I’m guessing that one was an accident too,” she said.
While there is a procedure teachers are supposed to follow when a pass goes missing, they have to figure out what to do until they get new passes.
Associate Principal Michael Franklin said the process begins with notifying administrators.
“If passes go missing, [teachers] let us know and we try to find them. [We try to see] if kids are taking them or if they accidentally put it in a pocket or backpack and forgot about it,” Franklin said. “So we look and that’s why we’re constantly out asking kids ‘hey can we see your pass’ because we’ve had a few go missing.”
However, until the passes are found, which can take some time, teachers have begun to implement temporary systems in their classrooms.
In response to her passes going missing, Masterson has not allowed students to use the restroom until at least one of her passes was returned.
“Students were not happy. I asked the secretary in the main office if they had extra passes and they said they can’t give any extra ones out and I asked them what to do and they said ‘you either write them a hall pass every single time someone needs to go to the bathroom or you say no bathroom use,’” Masterson said. “I just told students that I’m not going to stop teaching and kind of just ruin the flow of things just to write a pass or a bunch of passes. So I just said until the passes return, we can’t go to the bathroom so just do it before or after class.”
Like Masterson, Fish has had multiple instances where his passes went missing.
“Last semester I noticed one of them went missing and I was able to get it back. I had another situation where a student had forgotten theirs in their pocket and brought it back and was very nice about it.”
However, Fish’s passes went missing again a few weeks ago and they still have not been returned, so now he has no passes in his classroom.
“I just noticed that the other one I had disappeared,” Fish said. “I don’t know if it just fell in the bathroom, or somebody just forgot about it.”
Since both of his passes are missing, Fish has been writing his students individual passes when necessary.
“Right now I’ve just been writing individual passes as requested so each student has permission to be in the hallway at a certain time, which is never ideal but I absolutely give students permission to be there,” he said.
However, in order to reduce class interruption, he’s beginning to try out a different system where he has created temporary passes that he has students reuse.
At first, one of Pautz’s passes was only missing temporarily before being returned.
“One student had placed his in a coat pocket and forgot about it, so he returned it to me pretty quickly,” Pautz said.
But later on in the year, she noticed a student had asked to go to the bathroom and didn’t bring it back. That next class, she warned her students.
“For the class I knew they went missing in, I let them know the pass had gone missing during their class and whoever had them could return them at any point on the wall or in my mailbox,” she said.
But that pass has still not been returned, so Pautz only has one pass now.
Like Masterson, Pautz said she asked her students to try to use the restroom before and after class while her passes were missing.
“I did allow some students to go without a pass, but this was before the staff was reminded that any student in the hallway should have a pass,” she said.
Students misuse bathroom passes
Aside from passes going missing in classrooms, another conflict that has arisen with the implementation of the color-coded pass system is that students aren’t properly adhering to the color-coded restraints.
Hall monitor Tom Quatmann has noticed that many students misuse the pass system and he ends up catching them in areas they aren’t supposed to be in.
“[The hope is that] students are telling their teachers what they need to be telling them. If they go to the bathroom and end up at the snack machine, they’re not following what they’re supposed to and they’re not telling their teacher the truth,” Quatman said. “So that’s how we find out students are wandering in the halls where they shouldn’t be.”
Students not following their color codes could be a result of certain amenities only being in certain hallways, just like how there are only a few vending machines in the school, with not enough to have one in every hallway.
Likewise, certain hallways, like the west hall (dark blue passes) don’t have a water refill station. Math teacher Patty Mabie’s classroom is in the west hall.
“I wish we had a water refill station, it would be wonderful if we did,” she said.
She hasn’t heard many complaints about the lack of a refill station, and when students ask she will just write them a pass to the fountain.
Teachers have different processes of implementing pass system
Mabie believes that the system is convenient.
“I think more teachers are using it because it’s easier than having to write out a pass every time a kid wants to go to the bathroom.”
However, she also recognizes that teachers have different ways they go about implementing the system.
“I think each teacher has to have a system on how to make it work within their classroom,” Mabie said
Like Mabie, Pautz also recognizes that teachers have different ways they implement the system within their classrooms, however, Pautz wishes for more consistency.
“The hall pass system generally works and does not cause any disturbances to the class. Most of my students know the procedure by now,” Pautz said. “It may be helpful to have the same procedure for all classes so students remember like: are they supposed to sign out, ask for the pass or just go?”
Just like how each teacher has their own process of implementing the system, different teachers, like Fish, Masterson and Pautz have had different systems in responding to their passes going missing.
System has overall positive impact on building
Despite the challenges posed by the pass system, staff members recognize that it has pros along with its cons.
Hall monitor Susan Potrzeboski believes that the system just took some time for students to get used to, but now it’s working well.
“In the beginning of the year, since it was so new, the kids did not realize that ‘ok you have a purple pass, you go to the purple bathroom,’” she said. “I don’t think they realized that and they’re really good now that they’re used to it.”
Likewise, the conflicts that Potrzeboski runs into are usually solved with a simple reminder.
“I’ll find kids that are in the hallways sometimes without a pass and ill just remind them that they need to get one from their teacher and then they do,” Potrzeboski said.
Potrzeboski wasn’t here last year, but she recognizes that the pass system has made an overall positive impact on Lafayette.
“I think it has been good and even in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve seen a huge difference. There are hardly any kids really out of class, so yes, I think it’s definitely been a positive thing,” she said.
Fish agrees that the system is good, even though there are some problems that still need to be solved.
“Bottom line is I think it’s been a positive thing. There are fewer students that loiter in the hallways. Obviously, there are still some kinks to try to work around but I still think it still has its values,” Fish said.
Like Fish, Masterson thinks the system is good for the most part but believes there are some challenges with it.
“I think it definitely cuts down on students roaming in the hall and faculty and staff not being aware of where their students are, so for safety purposes I think it’s good,” Masterson said. “I do think that in some ways, I feel like for responsible and trustworthy students, it can seem a little unnecessary to have to use those passes and be in certain parts of the building. But overall for safety, I think it’s a good thing because all students are accounted for.”
Quantman has also noticed the system has made an impact on hallway usage.
“It does help out, it’s stopped a lot of wandering compared to last year,” Quantman said.
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