Possibility of open study hall leaves juniors in suspense

By Maria Paskell ’11

All high school students dream of senior privileges, such as having a parking spot, leaving school for Capstone, or finishing the school year before everyone else. Now juniors may be experiencing one of these perks a little sooner than expected. Although undecided, principal Kip Greenhill said he is considering the possibility of open study hall for juniors.

Greenhill said the school has a job of teaching students lessons beyond the mandatory curriculum.

“I want our students to be well-prepared for life beyond high school,” Greenhill said. “I believe we have a responsibility to teach more than just academics. We must teach [students] lessons outside of the classroom.”

Although Greenhill said this idea might be controversial, his thought is to give students independence so they learn how to handle it now in order to be better prepared for life after high school.

“When kids go to college, the trouble always comes in their free time and not knowing how to handle it,” Greenhill said. “We can teach them how to handle this free time.”

Junior Ameya Deshmukh said  he believes juniors should be allowed to experience this kind of freedom.

“Juniors and seniors should solely be given the open study hall option because not only do we drive our own cars,” Deshmukh said, “but we are mature enough to handle such a big responsibility.”

However, senior Amy Kandel takes the opposing position. She said the open study hall does not always allow for the best study environment.

“Closed study hall creates an environment where homework and studying are easy to work on,” Kandel said, “where as open study hall [creates an alternative] in which people sometimes leave or socialize with their friends.”

Kandel said open study hall should only be for seniors, as they have more responsibilities requiring them to leave campus.

“Open study hall allows students to leave and accomplish work, such as college applications they may otherwise not be able to work on during school,” Kandel said.

Along with the students, teachers would also benefit from the change, as they would have fewer study halls to monitor.

“I want our teachers to assign a lot of writing to the students. This means you have to give them time to grade this writing,” Greenhill said. “By opening study hall, this will free some teachers’ periods to grade.”

However, this privilege will come with certain restrictions, similar to those of seniors. Students must still uphold their responsibilities.

“You must be taking at least six classes and cannot be failing anything, but I want to open it up to everyone, so I would not get into looking at grade point averages,” Greenhill said. “Everyone needs to learn how to manage freedom.”

With the idea yet to be brought to the attention of teachers and restrictions in need of finalizing, Greenhill said, this privilege would most likely not be implemented until late in the school year, if at all.