column by emmaherold
“Do you have a pass?” my teacher asks me after switching classes from the band ro
om in the PAC to the opposite side of the third floor. “No,” I reply, hoping she will understand four minutes is not enough time to get to opposite ends of the school.
Whether she lets me off or not, four minute passing periods are ridiculous, given the circumstances of hallway traffic. The rush of people is even worse after lunch. I have been late to class many times because of all the people racing to class within four minutes.
I understand that the teachers value our learning time, however, it is unfair to be penalized with tardies, and eventually discipline points, for something that the student can’t control. Only if the student is consistently, abnormally late, then it would make sense for it to result in discipline points. Short passing periods disrupt class time because students constantly ask to use the restroom, go to their locker or do other things that normally should be built into a passing period.
When other adults found out that we only had four minutes to get from class to class, they were shocked. “What if you need to stop at your locker?” Well, the safest option is to just keep all of your books in your backpack all day. This creates many problems with organization and even back problems from hauling around your entire locker, simply because we aren’t given the time to make stops.
The talk of passing periods became especially prevalent in the news last August, when Millard North shortened their passing periods from seven to five minutes. Being the second largest high school in Nebraska, that sounds nearly impossible for every student to get to class on time.
Skutt Catholic is another high school with five minute passing periods, however there are two hallways and no stairs. Hundreds of students pushing through two hallways to get to class in five minutes sounds even more chaotic.
With some schools such as Prep given 10 minute passing periods and even dismissed earlier than Marian, I don’t see the harm in extending our passing periods to a more reasonable time. Taking into consideration that Prep has block scheduling, their passing periods with four classes a day still remain longer than our four minute, eight class schedule.
If extending passing periods is not an option, another solution could be to dismiss class in the PAC one minute before the bell. The last minute usually includes students just packing up and waiting for the bell to ring anyways.
Extending passing periods would prevent a lot of stress from students around Omaha.