Escorts Instead of Passes

Cheyenne Brown, Editor-in-Chief, Griffin Writes

On March 30th, 2022, the administration at Winnetonka high school put in place a new kind of pass policy; one without passes. Instead of digitally sending a pass to a teacher through Smart Pass, students now must ask a teacher to call in and request an escort.

“My experience with the new pass system has not been anything stellar. I don’t leave class very often to use the restroom however if I need to go, I’d like to be able to go. When I was in my fourth block class, I asked my teacher to call for an escort and was warned that it might take 20-25 minutes before someone came, but it was the beginning of class so I figured it would be fine.” Junior Kristina King said. “By the time I looked at the clock 35 minutes had passed, and my teacher decided to call again but when another 15 minutes went by without anyone coming my teacher decided to go with me and a few other students. Nobody ended up coming in the end.”

Officially there are only two escorts, though in some cases, other staff members have been able to step in and substitute when necessary.
Students must wait for an escort to leave the classroom and are not to leave on their own accord.

However, the escort policy is not permanent. The idea is to help decrease the number of students abusing the Smart Pass system. Some students have taken advantage of the number of subs unaware of the proper procedures regarding students leaving the classroom. The students who are skipping class or going into other classrooms can interrupt lessons and learning. As a result, students who follow the procedures also have to comply.

“As Someone who is heavily involved in school activities, it’s really hard to be able to prepare for, say a show, during tonka time or during an available free class without being able to use a pass to go get materials the school offers.” Junior Sam Littlecreek said. “I’ve always used a pass to go anywhere, especially if I’m going to be out of class for a few minutes, and this new policy feels like it’s punishing students who consistently follow the rules.”

Students hope the system is not in place for long. Though it is meant to improve the learning environment, the policy can be disruptive to classrooms that require students to interact with peers outside of their current classroom. Classes like photography and journalism are unable to send students out to capture photos or gather quotes, and leadership students are unable to leave class to fulfill their responsibilities.

“If we can get people in classes where they’re supposed to be and doing what they’re supposed to be doing it can only benefit all of us. The kids doing the things that they’re supposed to be doing won’t have to worry about the people that aren’t,” assistant to the principal Jessie Shepherd said, “and if the people that aren’t doing what they’re supposed to be doing, get on board with what we’re doing right then ultimately our whole school will benefit like academically, and just our perception of our school as well.”