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The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

The student news site of Wando High School

Tribal Tribune

SmartPass becomes the new norm in hallways

Digital hall pass system met with mixed reviews
Kailey Foushee
When students open SmartPass, they are greeted with this log in page. They can then request passes to locations such as the bathroom or media center

SmartPass: It’s a system that has gained both notoriety and praise from students across the school. It has its supporters and its opposers, both of which aren’t lacking in numbers. With some students feeling as though the time limit it sets on restroom breaks isn’t fair, and that its limit of four passes a day is too restrictive. On the other hand, several teachers, administrators, and some students think that it is a necessary decision to lower hallway congregation, among other issues.

The number one incentive for the SmartPass’s implementation is students hanging out in the hallways or congregating in the bathroom instead of participating in class.

“In order for kids to do well in class, they gotta be in class,” administrator MacCrea Finch said.

To solve this problem, Finch and the school ran a trial run with another digital pass system in the freshman academy last year. The main goal of this trial run was to gauge the effectiveness, or lack thereof, of an online pass to drop the amount of roaming students.

“Last year, when we used it in the freshman academy we noticed that the amount of students that were out in the hallway actually decreased tremendously when we were using the system on the trial run,” Finch said.

With this positive result as evidence, the school decided to invest their money into getting a similar pass system for the whole school to use. The SmartPass, and it produced similar results. While keeping students out of the hallways was a major priority, it wasn’t the only one. Another was being able to track the amount of time a student spends out of class.

“If we have certain students that we realize… are struggling in classes, that’s one of the things that we can pull up and say, well ‘hey, we noticed that little Johnny has been out of the class this many days, is everything okay’,” Finch said.

Along with that tracker and the associated time limit of one to 10 minutes, which the system gives students to use the restroom, concerns are raised about not having enough time to use the restroom and that it shouldn’t be regulated so heavily.

“There’s a time limit on the passes, but at the end of the day, we’re not punishing the kid if he’s going over the time limit. The only time where we would look at students going past the time limit, let’s say that every single day the student used all four passes and all four passes were over the time limit, 20 minutes 30 minutes, then that’s the flag,” Finch said.

Another notable concern is that using this pass can be inconvenient for a considerable number of students, as some can’t use the app on their phone since the app isn’t available on Android phones.

“A couple of my classes I don’t use Chromebooks in, and having to dig in my backpack and pull out my Chromebook and then log in and all that has definitely made it a little [more] inconvenient than a simple point to the door and the teacher nods,” sophomore Dylan Schneider said.

Schneider, like other students, has to use his Chromebook, or ask his teacher to create a pass for him since he has an Android phone. He has realized that this disruption is something that his teachers also don’t always have time to handle.

“I do find that sometimes… some teachers just point and I go instead of filling out a pass, but half the time they might have to stop their lessons to [fill out the pass],” Schneider said.

However, for English teacher Jeannie Fox, SmartPass has made restroom breaks easier and more manageable.

“In my class [I fill out passes] for the kids… [Students] have to wait until I’m at a stopping point where I can do the pass so instruction isn’t interrupted for the entire class,” Fox said.

Despite how some students may feel about the SmartPass, it doesn’t appear to be going away, at least not this year. Despite the scattered and split response.

“At the end of the school year, we’re going to reach out to some students and faculty and staff and kinda do… a survey to see if it’s worth keeping the system or not, “ Finch said.

Both Schneider and Fox said that they believe it will remain after this year, citing that they think enough teachers will embrace the system and adapt to the inconveniences.

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