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"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."

The Patriot Press

"Without an informed public, the democracy will cease to exist."

The Patriot Press

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How Smart Is SmartPass Really?

At the beginning of this school year, Wayne Hills took on new safety and regulatory measures for the student body: the adoption of a modern, electronic sign-out system known as SmartPass.  

SmartPass is designed to act as an efficient alternative to old-school, hand-written passes. When students wish to leave the classroom for any reason, whether it may be to go to the nurse, re-fill their water bottles, or use the restroom, they must ask their teacher to leave, and then either sign themselves out using the SmartPass application or have their teachers do it for them. 

When students log into the SmartPass app on their school-issued Chromebooks, they must choose the classroom they are currently in, the reason they are leaving class, and even the exact location they will be going to–i.e. “Girls bathroom 263.” The app then sets a five-minute timer, which will turn from yellow to red if the student exceeds the allotted time they have to be excused from class. 

Wayne Valley High School successfully adopted SmartPass last year, and, after seeing its benefits, Wayne Hills decided to follow suit. Nevertheless, Hills administration was not only inspired by the success on the other side of town; previous mishaps involving Wayne Hills students acted as a catalyst for new regulatory changes, such as overwhelming amounts of students in a bathroom at one time, and TikTok-inspired vandalism taking place in the bathrooms. 

Desperate times called for desperate measures, so Wayne Hills Principal Mr. Rewick decided that our school community would benefit from an authoritative system such as SmartPass. He prefers this system over other existing sign-out systems because it is quick, easy, and ensures both the safety of and upholds the freedoms of Hills students. 

According to Mr. Rewick, the main goal of using this system is to make teachers more accountable for students’ whereabouts, especially during safety drills. He also stressed that this new system is “monitoring, not punishing” students, and simply acts as a more efficient sign-out method for students and teachers.

History teacher Ms. Logothetis is in favor of this new system, and confirmed that having access to SmartPass is “easier than having paper passes.” As opposed to teachers having to pause their lessons and hand-write passes for students, they can now rely on SmartPass to eliminate class disruption and give students the freedom to sign themselves out. 

Likewise, Junior Mackayla Teli has had positive experiences with using SmartPass and vouched for its accessibility: “I like the new system. It works quickly and is easy to access.”

However, even though SmartPass is designed to help teachers better account for their students and keep track of activity here at Hills, this highly watchful system has raised speculation regarding whether its true intentions are to monitor students or to keep track of each and every one of their moves. 

Some students consider SmartPass to be an infringement on their rights and boundaries as human beings. Junior Erin Han said that the pressure SmartPass puts on students makes her feel as though she is “in a prison.” Using the restroom is a basic human right, so some students feel as though it is not a task that should be regulated as strictly as it currently is. 

Senior Grace Strodthoff pointed out some additional flaws within this new system, such as the little allotted time causing distress. She said, “Sometimes, a bathroom is full, so you need to go halfway across the school and are still expected to return to class in five minutes.” Some students feel that the unreasonably quick five minutes that SmartPass allots is not enough for them to leave class, do what they need to, and return without the SmartPass on their computer screen turning red. Not to mention, some students may be dealing with health issues that require more than five minutes to be spent in the restroom. 

Fortunately, Hills administration is empathetic towards these circumstances which students might be in. Mr. Rewick assured that, despite popular belief, the administration is not looking to “SWAT any student” who takes longer than five minutes out of class.

Despite its controversy, the new SmartPass system has only proven to be successful. Our school community is grateful for how caring and attentive our administration is towards ensuring the safety of students, and we are optimistic that this system will continue to bring better days to Wayne Hills.

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About the Contributor
Stephanie Tulpan
Stephanie Tulpan, Junior Editor
Stephanie is a junior here at Wayne Hills. She has been writing for the Patriot Press ever since her freshman year, and is currently the 2023-2024 Junior Editor. She primarily enjoys writing about school news and culture/entertainment news. She is an officer in several other clubs, including student council and French Club, and is also a member of the Wayne Hills Dance Team.

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    Thomas EmericOct 19, 2023 at 5:31 PM

    Just read this article, and as a former Student of Wayne Hills High School, I totally agree with the stress and anxiety this can put on students within the 5-minute period. I myself sometimes had to take more than 5-minutes in the bathroom, maybe if I was nervous about something, I would go to the bathroom and just cool down a little bit and destress. But, I think it shouldn’t be a big concern to staff if students take more than 5 minutes.