Green passes should be given to all juniors and seniors
Tiffany-Amber Loomis could not keep her eyes off the clock.
It was Friday, and the excitement for the weekend was nearly tangible. A few of Tiffany’s friends had already freed themselves from the school walls, yet Tiffany, a perfectly responsible 17-year-old, was forbidden from leaving.
Tiffany is one of many students affected by a new school policy imposed this year that is unfair.
The West Bend High Schools have developed Resource Time, a 27-minute period at the end of each school day when students are expected to receive help, make up work, and ask questions. Along with this procedure came the “green pass,” for upperclassmen with a high grade point average. Students with a green pass are not required to attend Resource Time and can leave school early.
“I would have one, but my grades from freshman year ruined my GPA. Sophomore year and this year I’ve done much better,” said Tiffany-Amber, an East junior.
Why is the green pass procedure unfair? First, it punishes students for mistakes made years ago. Second, it is inaccurate to assume that only students with high GPAs are responsible enough to acquire a green pass. Third, students do not necessarily gain academic benefits by staying.
These young adults are losing an opportunity to make their own educational decisions before they take their first steps into the real world.
A number of juniors and seniors at WBHS feel the exact same way as Tiffany. Many students’ grades reflect the notoriously difficult transition from middle school to high school, and that shouldn’t follow them for the entirety of their high school career.
The American Journal of Community Psychology characterizes freshman year as a time when students undergo the largest drop in attendance as well as the poorest grades. An issue the green pass poses is it punishes students even if they later had a dramatic shift in academic achievement.
Adam Kurth, assistant principal, takes another approach to the situation.
“It is the goal of the district to properly reward hard-working students. Everything here is based off the cumulative GPA. Having a green pass is not a right, but it is a reward,” said Kurth.
It is not wrong for good students to be rewarded, but juniors and seniors who are required to stay at school often do not benefit from that final half hour anyway. Teachers throughout the building with upperclassmen resource periods have noticed that their students either just talk with their peers or stare blankly into space between 2:07 and 2:34.
“For the majority, people do not utilize resource time properly. If the students weren’t required to stay, it certainly would be a lot quieter for me to enter grades and plan. I think most of my students are responsible enough to leave,” said Mike Rahlf, West social studies teacher.
Green passes should be given to each upperclassman for the purpose of making personal choices. It is necessary to practice decision-making skills at this point in an individual’s life as each student is preparing for adulthood and most are preparing themselves for a college education.
Students like Tiffany-Amber Loomis do not need to be punished for freshman year any longer. Unproductive resource times do not need to exist. Junior and senior students at WBHS do not have to be denied the chance to prepare for their futures and become assets to society.
(Photograph by Miranda Paikowski.)