Is hallway wandering a problem at WBHS?
By Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief
Lately passing time has extended beyond the customary five minutes.
When the bell rings, signifying the end of a class period, students at the West Bend High Schools are given five minutes to report to their next class. During class time the hallways are expected to be mostly clear, with only students carrying passes allowed to walk the hall. However, many students and staff members report an apparent increase this year in “wanderers,” which are students roaming the halls when they are supposed to be in class or in a supervised location.
“Other students are always in the hallways,” Sarah Shudarek, East junior, said.
Shudarek notes that she has seen a general lack of respect wanderers show towards teachers who try to reprimand these students. These observations are not unfounded, according to several sources.
“If I have to go do something I don’t take the pass, because teachers don’t ever check,” said an East senior who wished to remain anonymous. “Like you can literally walk past a group of three or four administrators, and no one ever checks.”
Kasey Butcher, East senior, has noticed a hallway disturbance as well.
“I caught two girls fighting in the hallway one time,” Butcher said. “It looked like they were about to fight in front of the culinary room. I’m surprised the teacher didn’t hear it, because they were pretty loud.”
Teachers have, in fact, noticed students wandering in the hallways.
“I’ve noticed there seems to be more hallway walkers,” Leah Duckert, director of the band, said. “It’s something I know the staff is concerned about, and working on solutions for. I’ve seen people try to corral folks, and it doesn’t always work.”
Adam Inkmann, West social studies teacher, has noticed a specific pattern to hallway traffic during class.
“I think it’s the same 200 kids all the time, too,” Inkmann said. “It’s one of, if not the biggest, problems in the school. Every time I go anywhere during class time, there are kids wandering.”
“It’s one of the biggest problems in the school. Every time I go anywhere during class time, there are kids wandering.”
– Adam Inkmann, West social studies teacher
An observation from Kim Tucholka, a WBHS aide, adds to the pattern Inkmann has noticed. She has also observed that it may not be just kids without a pass that are causing an increase of students wandering the halls.
“A lot of teachers will give students a pass consistently,” Tucholka said. “There’s a lot of students out in the hall with a pass, but they’re not going back to where they are supposed to be.”
Students unnecessarily traversing the hallway has not always been an issue. Library aide John Skidmore remembers a different environment from when he was a student at WBHS.
“When we were kids we just didn’t do it, because we got detentions,” Skidmore said. “If we were caught out in the hall without a pass, it was automatic. And that’s changed. The majority of people didn’t do 10 percent of the stuff they do now, because there was a price to pay. I don’t know if that deterrent exists anymore.”
The administrations of both East and West say they have not turned a blind eye to this problem.
“We are always trying to increase efficiencies and look for areas of improvement,” West Assistant Principal Patrick O’Connor said. “Even if there were one kid in the hallway we wouldn’t want that. So we are definitely looking at policies and procedures to shore up or implement if necessary to decrease students in the halls and increase student achievement.”
This area of improvement is not as easy to fix as one might think.
“We have our hall monitors that are out, but unfortunately we are a little short staffed at this point,” East Assistant Principal Tyler Wood said. “As often as we can, we like to get ourselves as administrators out in the halls. We’d like to increase our visibility and increase the visibility of any staff or adult member here.”
Administration has also developed a structure for the consequences a student receives when caught without a pass. First time offenders receive a warning, and if they are caught repeatedly the result is a detention. In extreme cases a truancy is given out, but only after parental involvement and ample warning.
(Photos by Jessica Steger, Editor in Chief.)