New hall pass system: hit or miss?

After a tumultuous past two years of online/hybrid learning due to COVID-19, students at Prior Lake High School were excited to return to their familiar learning environment.


However, last year, some students decided to commemorate being back together with new and destructive antics, especially to our bathrooms. Since vandalism and chaos swept the hallways, this year, the school implemented a new hall pass system to keep students in class and out of trouble.


Last year’s behavior issues affected teachers and students alike. Senior girls hockey captain Lula Swanson said, “I was scared to go to the bathroom because I didn’t want to be in there while people were stealing things.”


The administration at the high school heard the students’ and teachers’ voices and decided to take action. The proposed solution? Hall passes unlike any you’ve seen before. 


These new hall passes require students to scan a QR code with their devices, fill out a Google form, and carry a color-coded lanyard. These lanyards have room numbers printed and are color coded to each pod. 


“The idea is to track who is coming and going. We talked with other schools and shared ideas,” Principal Bezek said.


Prior Lake isn’t the only school with these problems. Shakopee and Eden Prairie High Schools were also helpful in creating our new system.


“We talked to people we knew and they were doing similar stuff,” said Bezek.


After a seemingly successful start to school, students were ultimately met with surprise.


“You always just went to the bathroom whenever you had to. I wasn’t expecting this,” said Swanson.


After the initial shock wore off, the complaints started to come in.


“I’ve definitely heard talk around the school that people are not happy about it,” Swanson said. “It’s embarrassing to grab that pass in front of everyone. It’s an unnecessary step.”


However, many are left wondering about the purpose of these passes.


“Ultimately, the goal is that the passes keep people from roaming the halls and the bathrooms clean and free of vandalism,” said Bezek.


Swanson disagrees. “If the reason they got these passes is because of the vandalism and people skipping class, the people who do those things will find ways around it,” she said.


So far, the bathrooms have been clean, but is it the passes? Or is it the fact that it is no longer a trend to vandalize bathrooms anymore?


Bezek believes that it is the passes keeping students in line.


“We haven’t had as much vandalism as we have had in the past,” he said.


Both students and staff are impressed with the positive energy in the school. But the principal also pointed out that even though he is on board with this new system, he doesn’t want it to be necessary.


“Do I wish we didn’t have to do something like this? Yeah absolutely,” said Bezek.


As the positive results filter in and the permanency of the system is being questioned, ultimately administration will decide how long the pass system stays.


“The reality is, okay, maybe we will do this for a while,” said Bezek. 


Whatever the students’ and faculty’s differing opinions may be, it looks like this pass system isn’t leaving anytime soon.