Student Opinions: New School Policies


Phone caddies are being used again after taking a break due to Covid concerns.

Bill Lewis and Ella Smullen

Recently, Tower Times received feedback from 36 students to gather opinions on school policy issues that have become a topic of debate within the student body. The policies ranged from SmartPass to chromebooks to phones. Many students had strong opinions on these topics and their responses show how Whitefish Bay High School students feel about administrative choices being made this year. 

SmartPass is being used this year mainly for bathroom passes and ISHP scheduling. However, it has been subject to criticism by students and teachers. Out of all of our submissions, only 25% percent have said they use SmartPass, 91% of whom said that the process was time-consuming and hard to understand. Sophomore Hannah Griggs said “SmartPasses take longer to make than just leaving to go. People will go to the bathroom if they have to go. If they miss a few minutes of class then they miss it. It shouldn’t have to be monitored… Even in elementary school, kids can just raise their hand and go.” All students who responded to the survey agreed that the SmartPass system is an inefficient use of class time, with one junior saying that “…in many classes we are not using our Chromebooks, so the time it would normally take to go to the bathroom and come back is doubled (since we need to take out the Chromebook, log on, and pull up SmartPass)”. A freshman agreed, as she believes “…SmartPass is very much a waste of time. Students should be trusted enough to go to the bathroom before class without a computer tracking everything they do”. A sophomore proposed the idea of moving money being put into SmartPass into places around the school that need more funding, such as clubs. 

Similarly, with cell phone caddies, students have strong opinions. Teachers typically require students to have cell phones in a designated caddy, box, etc. during class. This rule was not in place last year, as the school wanted to prevent shared surfaces and direct contact as much as possible. Now that it is back in place, Tower Times asked students whether or not the switch back made sense. 64% of participants said it didn’t. One sophomore said that “…it helped to keep me less distracted in class, but I also think that COVID isn’t over and we should really stick to last year’s policy.”

Lastly, students were asked about Chromebooks. This year, every student received a Chromebook, and per school policy, students may only use a chromebook as their device in school. This was met by both positive and negative reactions: Many students welcomed the change, saying it helped provide students with equal access to technology in school. Others found it unfair that they were not allowed their own personal computer as a replacement. Students were split on the issue; 44% say it was a helpful change, while another 44% said it was not; 12% were mixed on the issue.  Another big issue with the chromebooks that was brought up was the quality of devices seniors received versus the rest of the school. The computers are older models, which many took offense to. Senior Josie Woods said “…these Chromebooks make studying and school so much more difficult.”

Students brought up many other points about these issues as well, including changes that they think might benefit the school more. Senior Colette Stoye said “I believe that things like SmartPass and school Chromebooks should have been phased in by grade level…Enforcing it onto the whole school like this out of nowhere leaves us with seniors, who have learned independence and are under the impression that the school district trusted them after 4 years in the school, being timed in the bathroom like children.”

Overall, student’s opinions are strong on school policies. It is clear that most of the student body has a distaste for much of the school’s policy-making decisions regarding technology and going to the bathroom. 

These opinions beg the question: Will the school hear out the student body on these issues, and will they take action to help solve them?