I got released early from my class today. In order to get a head start on my way to my next class, I wanted to cut through the cafeteria which leads to the other side of my school. I thought I was golden, I would sit in the hallway, maybe do a little reading, catch up on the news, It is nice to get to class early. Equipped with my overweight backpack, and my plastic grocery bag containing my food for the day, I proceeded to make my way through the cafeteria. I get to the door leading to the other side of school and suddenly I hear “No leaving until the period is over”. I then plead with the “hall monitor”, “Oh, but I didn’t have lunch this period”, I say. “That doesn’t matter, wait until the period is over”.
Maybe this sounds like just another “annoyed about having to take the long way” stories, but honestly let’s think about the whole system of hall monitors and no cell phones in class.
Here are a few things I am going to draw from this story.
1. This “hall monitor” doesn’t trust me to walk around school without making a ruckus or causing damage, destruction, doing drugs, etc.
2. These overarching policies schools make regarding kids, there whereabouts, and there prohibitions don’t account for situations that differ from what they see as the “norm”.
3. By not allowing us to simply leave the cafeteria, I and many others, feel as if our school automatically labels us as “childish”.
4. Not allowing us a say in the matters of these policies makes the school seem cold, impersonal, and not our own.
I was in math class one day, I had finished the classwork, begun the homework, and had decided to pack my things, take out my phone, text my friend, and read the news. Immediately I am told to put away my phone on the grounds that I am not supposed to use it in class. Why not? Seriously, why can’t I use my phone during class?
I go to class, but feel as if something going on in the world outside of my school has more relevance to me. Why do schools seek to limit our freedoms and keep us from the outside world so much? No phones? No hallway without a pass? No youtube? Facebook? And an incredibly rude “You can’t do that”, when we try to do these things. We are people and we think. And I personally believe these policies speak volumes about what our school is and how much of a far cry it is from what it should be.
I am a person. Therefore do not talk to me like I am always subordinate to you. There is a time to listen to the people who are supposed to be in charge of you, but there is also a time to tell them to start treating us like we have a place in the world rather than merely exist to go about the day you tell us is important.
“You can’t use your cell phone in here” Yeah? Well maybe I have more important things to think about, maybe your class isn’t doing a good job of making the subject matter relevant and meaningful to me, allow me to connect to the world outside of these walls, that place matters more than anywhere.
“Don’t leave this cafeteria”, Why not? This is my school, I intend to make it my own and go where I want. The policy of prohibiting us from leaving the cafeteria feels meaningless and merely acts to make me feel trapped.
School, and places of learning exist for the students. Teachers, hall monitors, and other such people who feel it is necessary to enact these policies are merely making us feel as if school is not our own. The best way to our minds and our hearts isn’t by making us “sit down and shut up”, but by allowing us to feel as if our learning and our school is our own. DO NOT do that to us. We exist to follow our curiosities and explore. DO NOT take that away from us.