OPINION: Changing strict policies would reduce stress among students

OPINION%3A+Changing+strict+policies+would+reduce+stress+among+students

Liam McCamish

BY LIAM MCCAMISH (‘20)

Different schools mean different rules and policies. Some are big differences, and some are small differences. But does Granville take some policies too far?

In my high school career, I have been to two different schools: Granville High School and Capital High School in Olympia, Washington. Freshman year I attended Granville High School over the summer my family moved to Washington State where I attended Capital High School. I noticed many of differences between these two schools. Changing high schools opened my mind to how strict Granville High School currently is. 

Some major difference between these two schools is the locker policy. Capital has a no locker policy, meaning that every student needs to bring their backpack to every class. At first, I thought this was stupid. I wondered, “How am I supposed to fit everything in my locker into my backpack?” After about two weeks of walking around with everything in my backpack, I realized I never forgot any supplies I needed for class. This change also minimized the number of students roaming the halls during class time, making the campus more secure. 

I think when it comes to Granville having the no backpack policy is a bit too strict on students. If you forget one thing in your locker then you have to leave class to go get, if the teacher lets you. This means students are missing instruction by teachers. Obviously has high school students we need to be responsible but sometimes it can be hard. With six, forty minute classes a day, sometimes you’re going to forget something. It is inevitable. Another thing changed created was less time to transition from class to class, meaning more time in the classroom.

Another small change that Capital High School had was a “10-minute break” between third and fourth period. Again I thought this was going to be a waste of 10 minutes that won’t benefit anyone at all. It turns out this 10-minute break was almost a recharge to the morning, 10 minutes to hang out get together with friends and get ready for the rest of your day, possibly working on unfinished homework.

Granville has no break between any periods, excluding lunch time. This means you’re constantly going from class to class with no breaks. 10 minutes might not seem like a lot, but it seriously feels like a recharging 10 minutes. You can gather yourself, right down in your planner, start working on homework, text your parents to see if they can order you that book you need, etc.

Capital also had an off-the-book no homework policy. Teachers could give homework, and sometimes did, but the majority of the time there was no homework (besides studying). Obviously, everyone loved this. After seven hours at school, I could go home study for that upcoming test and not worry about cramming all my homework from other classes. This also made it so more students showed up to after schools sports games and events.  

In Granville, having a lot of homework is normal among the student body. Now, having this responsibility to do your homework is a great thing and prepares you for things you’re going to have to deal with for the rest of your life. But too much can lead to anxiety and stress, which can cause headaches, high blood pressure, chest pain and lack of sleep. Straining your body this much is a major health risk for teenagers.

With no homework came another change: no study hall. Another change I thought was going to be catastrophic to my grades. I was wrong, the study hall wasn’t needed. And if a student did need help on work, after school from 3:00 to 4:30 teachers stayed in their rooms and opened their doors to help students who needed it.  

Capital High School also had one police officer monitoring the commons or walking around the school. I always saw students talking to her, not because they were in trouble but I could see they were just talking. I had a new feeling of security knowing that there was a police officer making sure that the student body was safe. I personally never talked to the officer, but I do remember her being friendly and always smiling. This had another effect on the atmosphere in school, I think everyone felt safe and secure.

Coming back to a school where there is not active security monitoring students and checking in is different. Police officers are trained to read people’s body language and spot if someone is acting suspicious, seems upset or angry. I know here we have a great staff, but a lot of them probably aren’t trained to read body language. In Capital High Schoo, if the officer noticed someone looked angry or depressed, she would go over and talk to them to see what was wrong. She would try to calm them down or cheer them up.  If the situation was something to note, like a really outraged student or an overly depressed student who raised some flags, the officer would talk to an administrator. This wouldn’t get the student in trouble, but they would most likely be called into the office to just be checked up on, making sure that everything was okay.

All these changes might sound crazy to some students because some students these policies is the only one they know. I think that if these changes are made then the school’s atmosphere would change to a more positive, less stressful feeling. If Capital High School with, 76 teachers and 1,320 students can pull this off, I think we could as well.