Photo by Alicia Hernandez
Wolfpack vs Study Hall
The new study hall adjustments in the commons have upset the students of Elkhorn North.
December 6, 2021
Students who are in study hall during the third hour or seventh hour have experienced significant changes that students are required to endure. The impact of these changes has upset a considerable number of students who feel that having the privilege of study hall has been taken away from them.
The third-hour study hall, which has two study hall classes sharing the commons, endured the first changes that were put in effect by the administration. At the beginning of the school year, students were taking advantage of the leniency they had, thus they were becoming disruptive to the other students around them who wanted to utilize the study hall period to get their work done. This was the main reason why adjustments were made to the third hour study hall.
The first major modification to the third hour study hall was enforcing assigned seats, which created a massive upset amongst the students. The main concern from students was not being able to sit at the same table with their friends. This took away the opportunity for students to talk to their friends and get help from them on homework.
“We can’t sit with our friends anymore and we have to ask to work together, then move to an open table for the teachers to watch us, and people get in trouble for being out of their seats to ask a peer a question they have about the homework,” Junior Tara Carrier said.
Other changes have been added on top of the assigned seating. This includes the study hall teacher walking around telling students to go back to their assigned seats. When a student is seen out of their assigned seat, their teacher can give them referrals, even if the student is just asking about a question on an assignment.
As a result of these changes, the third-hour study hall has become less productive because students get out of their seats to talk to friends or students are shouting to their friends to ask a question they have about homework.
“Study hall is not fun anymore. I find that I get less work done because I have less motivation to do it since I’m not sitting around people that I could work together with,” Carrier said.
In the seventh-hour study hall, seniors are now required to sign in themselves at the beginning of the study hall period. The particular reason for this crucial change was that a certain number of students were leaving school early by sneaking out of the side doors of the school.
Compared to the beginning of the school year, students could have their friends sign in for them, but now the teachers are making sure that students are signing in themselves so they can see which students are present. When this change was first implemented by the administration, students were required to both sign in before and sign out after the study hall period, but that is not the case anymore.
“I honestly thought that it was a poor decision on the administrative part. The signing in to class is fine, but for a short time we had to sign out right before school ended, which was kinda dumb because everyone was crowded around,” Senior Dominick Rhone said.
Even after the new rules have been put into place, some students still continue to try to leave school early, but Vice Principal Emily Christensen and other staff members look over the security camera footage at the end of the day to see if students are leaving. When a student does leave the building early, Christensen talks to the student to see why they’re leaving, but if it continues to be an ongoing thing she assigns detention.
“We understand that it’s the end of the day, but the rules for a seventh hour study hall shouldn’t be different from a second hour study hall. We still want it to be a place where kids are accounted for,” Christensen said.
Another big change that disturbed students in seventh hour was the seniors, juniors, and sophomores having to be separated into different parts of the school.
At the beginning of the year, the study hall had all three grade levels together in the commons, but the seventh hour became such a large study hall that the teachers had to separate the different grade levels. Jessica Ethridge got put in charge of the seniors, who would have their study hall in the commons. Casey Allen and Nicole McMahon were put in charge of the juniors and sophomores; both grade levels were put into classrooms.
“It’s a lot quieter without the juniors and sophomores in my seventh hour because they moved them to different classrooms,” Rhone said.
Even though the changes in the third hour and seventh-hour study halls have agitated the majority of the student body, the changes had to be put into place so every student could have an academic environment to get their homework done.
All the new changes have been very upsetting to many students who have a study hall because they feel like their privileges have been stripped away from them. Students not only like using study hall to get homework done but also use it as a way to take a break from the classroom and have a free period.
“I understand change is hard. I hope students can understand that we genuinely do care. We would only make the changes if we thought it was in their best interests,” Christensen said.