The Reflection

Gull Lake High School's Online News Source

The New Rule Changes: Cells off but hats on

Some say life’s hard, well you better watch out because it just got harder at Gull Lake High School. Pause. The rules have just changed, and I’m not talking about Modern Warfare, I’m talking about school policies⁠— the laws that guide us through this experience that we all call high school. 

The Head Enforcers, principal Don Eastman and Vice-Principal Kris Simms. New cellphone rules and other changes went into affect the beginning of second trimester. Photo by JaKobe Ingram

With the administration’s support, the school faculty has finally begun cracking down on the certain habits of the students that are keeping them from reaching their full potential while they are in school.  Now they have listed these distractions as being excessive cell phone use, misuse of bathroom hall passes, and especially the vaping/drug problem. According to the emails that were sent out to students and parents, the attempt to correct all of these issues are going to be made beginning this trimester. The results of these corrections are how the following new policies were decided upon. 

As far as cell phones are concerned now, from the time in which the bell begins the class to the time that the bell dismisses the class your phone is not to be out at all. And any failure to comply with this rule results in immediate dismissal to the office, and the most likely involvement of the students’ parents through a phone call. Hopefully, someone is noticing the slight irony there, but I digress. 

Next, we have the bathroom/hallway passes, which are still being allowed to be given to students. However, students now must physically sign out of class and bring a pass with them each time. Students without a pass will be subject to other consequences along with students who are found roaming the halls and abusing their privileges, consequences once again include a likely call home to parents and discussion of some sorts.

Dewitt Renwick in newspaper class on his phone and Read Knapp wearing a hat in school. Photo by JaKobe Ingram

And lastly, we have the dreaded gathering of students in the bathrooms where they are vaping in the stalls. The faculty are really getting serious about this one. Inspections of the bathrooms during class time have already begun with staff members looking for any students who may be hiding out vaping or in possession of any marijuana or tobacco products. Any students caught in the bathroom stall together will automatically be subject to searches for anything they shouldn’t have on them. If anything is found, then those students will be faced with an immediate out-of-school suspension. 

Oh yes and of course to lighten up the mood, the restriction on hats has been lifted. I’m sure that’s probably the most immediate change for some of the students here, so congratulations to them and their newfound freedom of headdress the founding fathers would be proud of. 

In all seriousness, from the perspective of the teachers and staff at Gull Lake, I can understand why they deemed it necessary to begin to redefine these rules and make the effort to promote good behavior from the students. According to both Vice-Principal Kris. Simms and Principal Don Eastman the reason for these new policies are in hopes of “increasing student engagement, time on task, and general work ethic in the classroom.” Now I one hundred percent agree with them on this end goal and would like to believe that it could be as simple as this. However, I do have my own personal concerns on this matter when it comes to the effects of these rules and policies and the effect on the students. 

Now don’t get me wrong, yes students shouldn’t be on their phones for the majority of their class time, and they should be focused on their course work more than what gossip their group chats are speaking about. And yes, students shouldn’t be roaming the halls instead of being in their classes learning⁠—the whole reason they are at school in the first place. And no, I don’t condone students vaping and smoking in the bathrooms. I’m not going to attempt to argue with the validity of any of these rules, I support all of them in fact. Nevertheless, my real opinion is a message to those implementing these rules. 

With that being said I do not believe that these rules will by any means have the intended effect that the school staff was hoping for. This isn’t because the rules themselves are flawed, but it is the students that are the reason for these rules that are the real problem. Allow me to explain, according to the staff behind these rules, as I have previously stated, they were in an effort to better help the students to succeed in their high school career. But when all is said and done it truly isn’t up to any of the staff or faculty whether any of these students succeed, that decision lies with each and every individual student. The staff of Gull Lake believes these rules will “force” the students to better orient themselves but in actuality, there isn’t a single thing that they can do to make the students do better if the student doesn’t want to do better. 

According to an article from the American Association of School Administrators(AASA), 13 years of schooling is the time when “students learn what commitment to themselves is.” This is the backbone of what I am trying to say: Life is about growth and change of oneself and if the student isn’t willing to freely make the changes necessary to benefit them, then it won’t matter how many rules are placed on their shoulders. At least that’s my two cents on the matter.  These rules are only as good as those who willingly abide by them without being forced to. 

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