Juniors Defy New Attendance Policies


Annie Libbey

Due to new attendance policies, non-seniors are not allowed to leave during their free hour.

Annie Libbey, Staff Writer

BSM has constantly changed its policies to stay in touch with the times. Last year, to keep up with the pandemic, BSM allowed non-seniors to leave campus during their free hour. The administration revoked this COVID privilege at the beginning of the school year and returned to the old policy. Now, only seniors can leave early or arrive late. The policy has met with pushback from junior students unhappy with the change.

The new attendance changes are a source of annoyance for the majority of the junior class. While juniors were technically not allowed to leave campus in the first semester, many left the building without anyone batting an eye. Students rarely got questioned since the exits were not well monitored, and kids did not have to sign out to leave the building. Even with the new policy of students signing in and out, juniors have found ways to leave without the front desk knowing. Most students have gotten into this routine because they feel that there is no point in staying at school to just sit around in the library or cube. “I leave whenever I don’t have anything going on…if I don’t have anything then I’m like, why? Why stay?,” an anonymous junior said. 

The administration tightened up on the attendance policies this semester due to concerns about the security of the building and the safety of students. They found that with the loose monitoring of students coming in and out, they did not know who was or was not at BSM. This created liability issues for the school because, during school hours, BSM has full responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of students, even if they are not in the building. This is why parents of seniors have to sign forms that waive the school’s liability when their kids are off-campus. “When it comes to security, and unfortunately the world that we live in right now, those are definitely things that we want to make sure of. Your safety comes first. Always,” Senior High Administrative Assistant Katie Galper said.

Juniors at BSM do not believe the administration’s liability concerns are a valid reason to restrict students’ freedom. If senior parents can sign liability waivers, why can’t the junior parents do the same? It all comes down to how most parents and teachers want kids to be on campus for as long as possible. “Teachers are not really a big fan of even seniors leaving because that hasn’t been BSM’s tradition…there are some who feel like for the community we should be in the building together.” Senior High principal Stephanie Nitchalls said.

However, Spirit Shop mom Jackie Gonyea does not agree that kids should be forced into staying in the building during their free hour. Kids aren’t asking to leave during class when they would be building connections with teachers. They just don’t want to sit bored by themselves in the library. “We’re not talking such a significant amount of time that it should make that big of a difference. I think most kids have a free hour, and then most kids aren’t in that free hour. And you’re not seeing your teacher,” Gonyea said.

According to Galper, another reason seniors have the privilege and no other students do is because of their age. Many seniors are already eighteen, so teachers do not need to monitor them the same way they do minors. Seniors also need to be prepared for next year when they will not have the structure they have now. Being able to leave campus is a segue into that lifestyle. “We’re trying to prepare them for open campuses…and how to deal with that extra time and utilize it as well for, you know, different purposes because you’re not going to have to stay on campus all the time between classes,” Galper said.

However, of the juniors surveyed, 96.4% believe that this transition into college time management should start sooner than senior year. BSM is a college prep school, so it would be reasonable to allow all upperclassmen to leave and figure out how to plan their own schedules. “It is silly that they don’t let juniors leave, as it clearly has little to no effect on learning as they allow the seniors to leave and they’re still successful,” anonymous said.

One reason juniors find it difficult to stay on campus is that last year they had the freedom to leave. It is difficult to transition back to a closed campus after not being restrained as sophomores. “I think that it’s very difficult once you have a privilege to have it taken away. And I don’t think that’s right…I think it should at least be grandfathered in for the class that was able to have that privilege,” Gonyea said.

The administration is not opposed to opening up the doors to the younger classes. The administration is open to discussing if juniors should have the privilege to leave alongside the seniors. Even if this were to happen, it would not affect the current junior class as it will not be implemented during the current school year. For now, the class of 2023 is just going to have to accept the fact that the campus doors are closed off to them.