One Central New York school is changing the way a new hall pass limits bathroom breaks after a miscommunication.

Unadilla Valley Secondary School handed out Pass Cards for bathroom breaks or locker visits in an effort to stop vandalism or kids cutting class. Once the card has been filled out, students are not permitted to leave the classroom, according to the sheet given to students.

Pass Card Purpose

The Pass Cards were created after months of students not using the regular hall passes for their intended purposes - going to the bathroom or retrieving forgotten items from lockers. "We know that in some cases, students are abusing their hallway pass privileges by using passes to avoid classwork or meet up with friends in the bathroom," Kimberly Murray, Principal UV Secondary School wrote in a letter sent home to parents.

We know that at times, hallway passes have been used by students to vape in bathrooms or engage in other concerning behavior.

AleksandrYu/Think Stock
AleksandrYu/Think Stock
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New Pass Cards

Students only have a 3-minute break between classes, which may not be enough time for a bathroom break. Murray says students will be able to use the restroom anytime during the day either with a hallway pass or during lunch. "That has not changed and will not change. Students will not be denied a request to use the bathroom."

What will change is the new Pass Card.

Our initial version of our hallway pass monitoring system consisted of a paper card with language that did not sufficiently explain the reason for the system and a numbering system that may have led to a misunderstanding of its purpose.

The Pass Cards are being revised to make them more generic while still helping provide a safe environment at school.

Our primary responsibility is the safety of our students. We strive to create a nurturing environment where we encourage students to be prepared for class and accountable to their classmates and teachers.

Murray says the goal of more closely monitoring hallway passes is to "identify students who may be struggling or engaging in behavior that is not compatible with our academic environment."

Because our 7th and 8th graders have never experienced our pre-pandemic expectations for student behavior at the Secondary School level, this may be a significant change for them.

The new card and system will be put in place on Monday, March 28.

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