New BCCHS Bathroom/Hall Passes Require a Clipboard For Visibility But Aren’t Exactly Hygienic

Nathan Velasquez, Staff Writer

Last semester, at Birmingham Community Charter High School, classes received new bathroom/hall passes. Students have to write down the date, their name, and the time they leave in order to use this new pass. Students also have to write down where they are going and after that, the teacher has to sign it. This is done every time a student wants to go to the bathroom or step out of class to do something. Some teachers like this new pass system, while others don’t.

The school administration made new bathroom/hall passes so it’s easier for security to see which students are going to the bathroom and which students are ditching class or are unauthorized to be out of class.  The previously-used bathroom/hall pass was a slip of paper and the students would just crumple them up in their pockets and campus security couldn’t see them.

Some teachers have said that it’s disgusting because they have to touch the clipboard after students take it to the bathroom. That’s one of the reasons why teachers don’t like it. Some students don’t like it as well because they have nowhere to put the clipboard in the bathroom. Students don’t want to carry a big clipboard around, but I know some students don’t mind. Some have a lanyard that they can hang on their necks or arms.

On September 27, 2022, the school gave teachers gloves for both students and teachers, so they don’t have to touch the clipboard with their bare hands. The older bathroom/hall passes from previous years were bright yellow vests that students did not like. Students found that it was embarrassing to wear because it was a bright yellow vest.

There are several reasons why hall passes can be detrimental in schools. First, they can be disruptive to the learning process. When a student needs to use the bathroom, they must interrupt their teacher and ask for a pass, which can break their concentration and the flow of the lesson.

Additionally, students may feel embarrassed or uncomfortable asking for a pass in front of their classmates. Hall passes can create an unequal playing field for students. Some students may be hesitant to ask for a pass, even if they really need to go, for fear of being seen as a burden or inconvenience to their teacher. This can lead to health issues, such as urinary tract infections or constipation, as well as distractions and discomfort for the student who is holding it in.

Thirdly, bathroom hall passes can reinforce the idea that bathroom breaks are a privilege, rather than a basic human need. This can lead to students feeling like they have to beg or earn the right to use the bathroom, which can be harmful to their self-esteem and dignity.

I asked some of my fellow BCCHS classmates what they think about the new bathroom/hall passes and here’s what they said. John Zachary (11) stated, “I don’t like the bathroom/hall passes because it is not hygienic.” Nicholas Beltran (11) added, “The bathroom passes are disgusting because everyone touches it and some kids don’t wash their hands.” Jake Gonzalez (11) explained, “It’s unsanitary because other people touch the clipboard and not everyone washes their hands and Covid is still going around.”