We all hear it in the morning—muttered chatter, laughter, and even shouts—coming from the hallways before class starts. It is the cyclic sound of dozens of bored and talkative students waiting for their class to start just before 2nd period, reoccurring every day without fail.
“By the time it is 8:35am to 8:40am, the halls sound like the main event of Wrestlemania is taking place outside,” says Calculus teacher Kenneth Raftery.
Recently, deans have cracked down on this hallway noise due to complaints by various teachers, including Raftery, who teaches first period on the West side of the third floor. He took up the issue with Maureen O’Hara, the AP of Health and Safety, when the problem was no longer negligible. This led to the current renewed enforcement of policy by the school in combating the noise pollution. The new policy is to usher students into the cafeteria where they will stay until the start of second period class, regardless of whether or not they are creating a disturbance. Once there, they can “laugh, scream, create a ruckus all they want, and even have something to eat,” reasons Raftery.
He declares, “it’s tough enough to do intricate proofs while this is going on. One can only imagine how horrible it is on test days. Students have the right to peace and quiet while taking an exam…[and] while learning a lesson.”
One student in Raftery’s Calculus class does not think of the hallway noise as a significant distraction during class. Anna Chen, ’13, says, “the people talking outside was not that bad, even during the tests. It is not a big problem at all.”
On the other side of the equation are the students. Many are disgruntled with the school’s enforcement of this policy, saying that it creates unnecessary scenarios where students have to go to the cafeteria, even when there is 10 minutes until the start of second period.
“By the time we can get up to the 7th floor, it will be time to walk down and go to class anyway, so there is no point in the policy; it is too time consuming,” says Wei Li, ‘13.
Although the new policy has both faults and good points, the general student body’s argument that the policy is unnecessary and too much of a hassle makes sense. The time used to walk to and from the cafeteria could very well be used to study before an early morning test while sitting outside the classroom.
The fact that the policy does not distinguish between those students who are actively creating the disturbances and those who are quietly and patiently waiting for class to start is unfair. As long as students get the idea that people who are too noisy get sent to the cafeteria, enough of these students will learn to speak softer and create less of a ruckus if they want to stay in the hallways before class. Generally, if a teacher comes out and yells at the kids to be quiet, they comply because they do not necessarily want to get into trouble when the teachers threaten them with a call to the dean’s office.
If enough students set the example of being calm and not disruptive in the hallways, it is not a problem to allow them to stay where it is the most convenient.
To use Li’s words, “They [school faculty] are just making something out of nothing.”