How the student handbook contradicts the unwritten rules that our school lives by

Keely Carolan, Staff Reporter
Originally published May 3, 2017


We all get the first day of school packets at the beginning of the year, but how many people really look at them? These packets contain flyers for clubs and sports, paperwork to be turned in and a copy of the student handbook. Though some information in the handbook changes from year to year—such as the ASB roster, list of coaches and administration—the basic district-wide rules remain the same. But how well are these rules enforced around our school? And while the schoolwide rules are consistently outlined in the handbook, each teacher has their own regulations for their classes, generally highlighted in the syllabi that we’re given at the beginning of the year. It’s hard for students to follow these expectations when everyone seems to be operating under their own guidelines.

Let’s take the cell phone policy for example. According to the handbook (which can be found on the BHS website), people aren’t even supposed to use their cell phones during school hours, and they are to be turned off and put away during class time.

However, in many classes the use of cell phones is permitted, and sometimes promoted, as an educational tool. It’s great that so many of us have access to such devices as a resource for our education, but if we are to do so, it is definitely time to align our policies with the times. Not to mention that alternatives to this technology-based education need to be provided for those who don’t have such easy access.

Another example is the food and drink policy. The handbook states that, “No food or non-water drinks will be permitted in any academic pod, the performing arts areas, 1st floor entrance next to the Main Office, library, Career Center, office areas, gyms or in the locker room areas.” This may come as a surprise to many seeing as the pods are lined with groups of students during lunch, an effort to find a quiet space to recollect ourselves and get prepared for the second half of the day. Along with the fact that there’s simply not enough space for everyone to eat in the cafeteria, and it’s unreasonable to expect that all of the overflow will travel off campus.

This is one of the rules that clearly just doesn’t make sense for administration to enforce, as it will create a safety hazard if we’re all made to cram ourselves into the cafeteria for lunch.
In some instances, a few rules in a section will be enforced while other rules are ignored. Let’s take the attendance policy. When a student shows up to class after the bell has rung, the teacher usually marks them late. That goes on the student’s permanent record unless they are able to get it excused.

But the handbook also states that if a student is late to periods 2-6, they have to go to the office to get a late pass, and are required to attend one period of lunch detention. First of all, it doesn’t make sense to make students go pick up a pass from the office when they’re already late to class. That will just make them more late and cause more of a disruption when they enter the classroom.

Secondly, it doesn’t seem like lunch detention is something that teachers still use as a punishment (although maybe it just isn’t made known to most students), so why is it still listed as a consequence?

If students take the time to examine the handbook, they’ll see that there are many inconsistencies with what’s written, and what actually happens at our school. And to be clear, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Often these rules are broken to the benefit of us all—the handbook just needs to be re-written to reflect this.