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Changes to off campus policy sparks debate amongst juniors

Seniors+leave+their+study+halls+exercising+this+privilege+for+the+last+year+at+York.+
Seniors leave their study halls exercising this privilege for the last year at York.

Seniors leave their study halls exercising this privilege for the last year at York.

Photo by Annika Tourlas

Photo by Annika Tourlas

Seniors leave their study halls exercising this privilege for the last year at York.

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As the course selection process for the 18’-19’ school year commenced, York administration informed students of new policy changes for next year, and one particular change prompted resistance from current juniors: the new senior off campus policy.

An email from the York administration, with information about course selection, was sent to parents and teachers on Thursday, Jan. 11. The email advised students to keep in mind while selecting courses that unlike previous years, they will not be allowed to exercise off campus privileges during their study halls. Juniors reacted immediately, and many agree that they deserve off campus for all free periods, with some claiming they have worked for special senior privileges throughout their years at York.

“We [juniors] think these changes are unfair because we have been told countless times during our time at York that by following all rules, we will have off campus for all free periods,” junior Liam Parpan said.

Some juniors have responded by making a petition. The petition was signed by one thousand supporters in the first day it was posted. Supporters included York students of all classes, former students, parents, and more people who supported reinstatement of the previous off campus policy.

“I feel it [off campus] is necessary because we have been told for the past three years that we will have this privilege if we follow certain guidelines,” junior and co-writer of the petition Michael Regan said. “After we followed these rules, we were partially stripped of this privilege before it was enacted for us seniors.”

The administration, aware of the discontent in the community, wanted to handle this hot topic as best as they can. A team consisting of Principal Erin Deluga followed by both Assistant Principals, Drew McGuire and Ryan Doherty, carefully examined the outcomes of this choice. It came down to staffing issues as well as safety in the decision to restrict off campus to lunch periods only.

 

Senior Nora Billenstein comes back after her seventh period study hall.

“We as a team have gone through some processes of tightening up some procedural elements of traffic in the halls, students carrying passes, lanyards being identifiable,” Deluga said. “Part of that conversation was students maximizing what their schedules reads, so a study hall is a study hall.”

Instead of taking a study hall to leave campus, the administration team would prefer for students to take advantage of the opportunities given to them within York. However, remembering that seniors have worked hard and deserve a break, the schools policy for senior late arrival, as well as early dismissal, still stands after a discussion with that student’s given counselor.

“We have the ability to schedule seniors to have a late a start, and we have the ability to schedule seniors to have an early release,” McGuire said. “They just will not have an eighth period.”

Photo by Annika Tourlas
Starting next year, students will only be able to leave campus without a pass during their lunch periods and or early dismissal.

The administration team stresses that this choice was necessary to benefit both students and teachers. Many study halls have caused staffing issues, which has lead to minimal time for staff breaks and over staffing for study halls that are decreasing in size throughout the year.

“That is happening eighth period right now; we had 83 kids sign up and there is 18 kids left and I staffed it with two staff members,” Doherty said.

Photo by Annika Tourlas
Underclassmen and juniors take advantage of their seventh period study hall.

No matter the upset, the administration is not willing to change the policy. The off campus rules have been changing since they were first introduced at York, and next year will be different, but students will still be able to leave campus during their lunch period. Although they will be more restricted, seniors can still exercise the privileges they worked for.

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Changes to off campus policy sparks debate amongst juniors