By Jessica Steger, Current Staff
It is common knowledge that high schoolers are not world-renowned for their self-control. So when handed a wooden pass with a long lanyard, it is only natural for them to start swinging.
West Bend students are not immune to this temptation, and numerous examples of this behavior can be found in the WBHS halls on any given day. Some students and teachers feel that the restroom passes have become a danger in the halls.
“Every day I see students swinging the pass. I’m constantly asking them to be careful. I’ve seen the wooden block hit the floor and the walls, and I’ve seen it leave a dent in a locker. Twice I have been almost hit by a swinging pass, and I saw another teacher nearly get smacked as she came around the corner,” said Eric Beltmann, East English teacher.
Katie Kealiher, East sophomore, admitted that she herself swings her pass when she is in the halls, and that she has often seen others in the act, too.
“I was walking in the hallway with my friend, and she swung a pass and hit someone in the head with it,” Kealiher said. She went on to say her friend had quickly apologized, and the student who was hit by the pass was unharmed.
East ninth grader Rachel Roeber had her own experience with swinging the pass in the hallway. “I was swinging the pass around, and I lost my grip on it and it skidded across the floor,” Roeber said. Luckily no one was around and the pass simply hit some lockers, producing a loud noise.
When asked her opinion of students swinging passes in the hallway, East sophomore Alayna Sage said that she saw it often and was guilty of doing it herself. “Pretty much every time I go out I swing the pass. You gotta hold the pass and it’s boring, you just want to swing it around as you walk,” she said.
Sage has often seen other students casually walking by and swinging the passes, and she sees this as a common behavior.
“My friend swung a pass and hit someone in the head with it.”
– Katie Kealiher, East sophomore
Aide Jennifer Rinzel, who mans the front desk by the West entrance, has the perfect position for viewing the behaviors of students in the halls. She said she often sees students swinging passes in the halls, and even asks them to stop when she does.
“I do think a lot of people are misusing their passes. Yeah, it’s a problem,” Rinzel said.
Beltmann said that the problem could be addressed simply by shortening or removing the lanyard from the wooden pass.
Several teachers stated that they have not seen or noticed students exhibiting this behavior in the halls. “I have not seen students swinging passes in the halls, but I’m generally not out in the hall when students are,” said Mike Kieser, East social studies teacher. Many teachers are in their classrooms teaching while students are out in the halls with bathroom passes, which does not give them many opportunities to witness students swinging passes.
Principal Bill Greymont has not noticed the swinging of passes. “I would not be surprised with the lanyard and all that, but what I have observed most of the time is the students roll it around their hand or are hanging it and carrying it. Now, mind you, with adults in the hall maybe that changes the behavior,” Greymont said.
The swinging of the hall passes is not a big issue, Greymont said. “Normally if something is a big deal, you’d hear about it right away. I’d hear about it from multiple different sources,” he said.
According to Greymont, no major accidents have been caused by the swinging of hallway passes.
(Top: A WBHS student swings a bathroom pass in the A hallway. Video by Jessica Steger, Current Staff.)