Isabella Capanda ‘19: The education system is forever evolving. Coming into the 2017-18 school year, Romeo High School students faced many changes in policy. New rules were implemented in order to make Romeo High School a more functional and safe environment for the students and staff. A few new rules include: a tardy policy, a hat policy, cell phone holders, and the current food policy.
Changes to the tardy policy include that a student is now able to receive a maximum of five tardies before disciplinary measures are taken. Instead of receiving an after-school detention, however, students face the consequence of an in-house suspension.
“I think that it’s a good and bad thing,” Hannah Enciso ‘19 said. “It’s a lot nicer that students are able to get five tardies because there are some legitimate reasons a person would be tardy, school and personal, and not every teacher is forgiving or understanding. However, I feel like an in-house suspension is a bit much.”
Arguably, the most favorable rule executed is that of the new hat policy. When walking through the halls, one is able to see students sporting ball caps and beanies.
“I originally thought that the no hat rule was stupid because it didn’t have much explanation,” Milo Dunham ‘19 said. “But I really like that we can wear our hats now.”
Students feel as if it gives them another way to express their personal style. Though the decision belongs to the teacher to allow hats in their classroom, many teachers approve of the policy.
Another policy that exists is the new cellphone holders. Teachers are given the option of placing a cell phone holder in their classroom. Teacher who chose to use the holders are asking students to place their phones in a slot for the class period. The idea behind the cell phone holders is that students will not have the option of being distracted during class.
“I had originally advocated for the use of cellphones in class, but in recent years students have become more distracted because of their phones, and therefore I have completely changed my opinion on that due to students behavior,” Kimberly Ruhlman, teacher at Romeo High School, said. “I felt common sense would prevail and that students would be able to decipher when it was appropriate to use his or her phone. That turned out not to be the case. Some kids have no restraint when it comes to phone use and are becoming addicted to their phones.”
A study released in May of 2015 by the Centre for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics states that “low-achieving students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high achievers can focus in the classroom regardless of whether phones are present.” The study also found that students who performed poorly benefited the most and received a 14.23 percent gain in test scores.
One of the rules that has gotten the most backlash is that of our new food policy. As of this year, Romeo High School is no longer allowing food in any educational environment, including classrooms and the library. As a result of this, all students are required to eat in the cafeteria or lobby. These rules, however, were not implemented without good reasoning. In an email sent out before the last school year ended, Romeo High School’s principal, Bernie Osebold, stated that “Of the 60 instructional rooms in our building, 42 of them had some sort of food debris (discarded food, wrappers, apple cores, dirty spoons, straws, crumbs, etc) on the floors and/or desks… due to this misuse, we now have ants, mice, and other pests in our school.” Thus, in order to make the school a cleaner environment, these rules needed to be enforced. In addition to making the school cleaner, the rule also helps students who may be at a health risk to due to health threatening food allergies.
“[The policy] has helped me a lot because I don’t have to worry about going into a classroom and be worried that people are going to be eating nuts around me or that people are touching my stuff. It’s just a lot less stressful and it makes me feel safer,” anonymous said.
Even though a substantial amount of negative reactions exist, the positive results of the new policies greatly outweigh the negative. By allowing these rules to be put into place, Romeo High School continues to evolve and become a safer and more educational learning environment.