Strictly speaking

Oct. 18, 2004, midnight | By Anthony Glynn | 19 years, 6 months ago

Rules, regulations and restrictions create unwelcoming environment

Abiding by Blair's newly implemented guidelines has become a hassle, and hearing friends complain nonstop has been, quite frankly, annoying. Blair is an excellent school with an excellent administration, but we need to take a closer look at the walls that are closing in around us.

"Safety Committee enforces new lunchtime hallway restrictions," "Budget restrictions impact Blair clubs and activities," "New restrictions on after-prom." The list goes on to include limitations in the locker room, senior courtyard, library and bathroom.

It seems that we are to have purpose and permission for everything we do at school now. The most direct evidence for this is every day a staff member comes on the PA system to make the same threat; "Leave [or prepare to get arrested on] school property by 3:15 unless you are in a school sponsored activity." Our freedom at lunch, the only other substantial free time we have at school, has also been restricted: no walking through the hallways without a note. There is a serious lack of trust if the staff is setting up tables in the hallways stopping kids and looking for disrupters like the army setting up roadblocks stopping cars and looking for terrorists.

There are distinct rules for each room at Blair (no eating in the classroom and no loud talking in the library). There are distinct rules for the time of day (no leaving school grounds until school ends and no staying in school unsupervised after the school day ends). By throwing rules at us from every possible angle, we become overwhelmed.

We live in one of the most affluent school districts in the country, and believe it or not, Blair provides us with such a wide variety of options that some students even complain of not being able to fit interesting courses into their schedule. But life outside the classroom is important too. We need wiggle room. Or at least shoulder room. Not only are students unable to use the building more freely because of rule concerns, but they also are restricted because of numbers. Walking in the hallways has become extremely difficult, especially with a student body approaching 3,400.

All the new rules point to the principle concern of our time: overcrowding. The restrictions at Blair are the product of the deeper seeded, more pressing issue of overcrowding, which must be solved before we can hope for a freer school. And sadly, trivial regulations, such as staying after school, has gotten more coverage from the administration than those more pressing concerns, such as capping Blair's overall attendance.

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