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The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

WCHS’ controversial ‘Hall Sweep’ policy prompts student frustration and parent concerns

Photo by George Chang
Students rush to seventh period on Tuesday Jan. 10, 2023 to avoid being swept in a possible hall sweep.

While the occasional reprimand from a security guard or disapproving glance from a teacher were the typical consequences for tardiness, WCHS is now introducing a new ramification: hallway sweeps. Starting the week of Dec 3, 2023, the administration will pick random days and periods to give lunch detentions to any students not in the building before the first period or out of class without a pass after the late bell.

“Our biggest concern is that recently there have been a lot more students out in the halls in between classes after the bell in the mornings and after lunch. [Hall sweeps] are really about getting students into their classes so teachers can start their instruction,” WCHS Assistant Principal John Haas said. “They are taken to a central location like the auditorium and the administrator who has the student list will ask the students their ID numbers and verify who the student is. Then, they will verify that they were kept in the hall sweep and then the student is automatically given lunch detention.”

While the new “hall sweep” policy offers several benefits to teachers who are frustrated with late students disrupting instructional time, the policy has stumped unknowing students stuck in morning traffic or catching up with friends between class periods.

“I was walking to AP Lit after talking to Ms. Bopanna after class. Suddenly, I saw an administrator telling me to go with her, just as I was about to enter the classroom,” WCHS senior Anne Sefen said. “I did not know what was happening, and it was a confusing situation because I had so many assignments to finish for AP Lit, and yet, I was being told I had to go somewhere else—not to learn, but to get penalized for staying back to talk to my teacher.”

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Although many WCHS students are rarely tardy and do not have the intention of being late, the new hall sweep policy hopes to teach students about the importance of accountability.

“We want students to know about accountability,” Haas said. “We want students to know that it is important to be at their location at that given period. It is about how there are time limits and there are times punctuality is necessary. Punctuality is important and although we understand that some kids are rarely late, we want students to be on time when they go on to college they are going to have time requirements, when they enter the workforce they’re going to have time requirements.”

Punctuality in school can be beneficial for both students and teachers alike. However, the recent hall sweeps have caught unsuspecting students off guard. The timely process of “sweeping up” students after the late bells, recording their information, and assigning lunch detentions has been a timely process, throwing wrenches in the schedules of many students.

“I disagree with the way [the administrators] are handling it because instead of students who are actively skipping in the bathroom or leaving school to skip, students who have experience skipping, they catch people who are right outside of their classroom and about to go in,” Sefen said. “That’s not what improving education should be, because making sure people are going to school is more important than randomly sweeping the hallways right before class starts. I know friends who just leave because they don’t want to waste their time in lunch detention. It perpetuates bad attendance.”

On Dec 13, 2023 at promptly 7:45 AM, WCHS administration locked all doors of the building except the main entrance, where all late students were escorted from the main office to the auditorium to receive lunch detentions. With more than 157 students pooled out of the main entrance doors and then “swept up” and an additional unspecified number of students who left school to arrive before second period after seeing the significant crowd of students, WCHS parents and students were both baffled and frustrated.

“It should be up to the teacher to decide if a student deserves a punishment because sometimes, there’s a valid reason for being late to a class,” Sefen said. “If students are swept away without being able to defend themselves, they’re missing valuable instruction. Maybe they have to take a test that period, or what if they have an important club meeting during lunch?”

All feedback and reactions from students and parents for the new policy are important to WCHS administration, although they continue to support the “hall sweeps strongly”. Addressing lateness at WCHS is important to the administration, and hall sweeps have proven to be a stern yet effective solution to the issue.

“I would say for the most part [reactions] have been fairly positive,” Haas said “We are not doing all sweeps every day/period and parents and teachers appreciate the accountability of their students and children. For the most part, there is an acknowledgment from students about their lateness. We do get a few students and parents who are not happy, which is okay, but part of the hall sweeps is also the conversations with students and parents about how we do need students to be in school on time. If detention is the first part of having that conversation, then we think that is necessary.”


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About the Contributors
Julia Levi
Julia Levi, Observations Editor
Julia Levi is a senior and the Observations Editor for The Churchill Observer. This is her third year taking journalism. Outside of the Observer, Julia enjoys listening to music, traveling, and reading. She also loves baking, hanging out with her friends, and watching her favorite TV shows “Suits,” and “Shameless.”
George Chang
George Chang, Features Editor
George Chang is a senior and one of the Features Editors for the Observer. His hobbies include discovering new music, going on long walks, watching Survivor and reading poetry. This is his third year taking journalism.

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