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Student petition at NH school claims 3 hall passes a day is not enough

  • ConVal High School. (Benji Rosen/ Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) FILE PHOTO

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 9/23/2022 2:16:15 AM
Modified: 9/23/2022 2:15:37 AM

PETERBOROUGH, N.H. — A ConVal High School senior has started an online petition in protest of the high school’s policy of limiting bathroom breaks during the school day.

The “Free to Pee ConVal High School” online petition was started by Raiven Lewis, a senior at ConVal who addressed the School Board at Tuesday’s meeting. Lewis explained that students are given three E-hall passes that allow them to get water, go to the cafeteria and to use the bathroom, and that isn’t enough.

Lewis also said that limiting students to three five-minute E-hall passes — which uses technology that replaces a traditional sign-out sheet and can be used to prevent students from meeting, curb vaping and increase time in the classroom — is insuffient.

“I’m not the type of person to do this stuff. I’m a quiet person,” Lewis said. “But it feels like they’re taking away a human right.”

Lewis said most of the students didn’t know about the new hall pass system until the school year began. She challenged the seven opportunities the school says it provides during the day for students to visit the cafeteria, get water or use the bathroom — before and after school, during the four passing times and lunch — saying this still doesn’t provide enough time and does not allow for mental health breaks.

“They claim there are seven opportunities to go during the day, but in between classes there are lines,” Lewis said, adding that she has been late for class because of this. She also addressed the issue of menstruation for young women, explaining that she didn’t think it was fair women should not be able to change a tampon because they don’t have time to get to class.

Lewis posted her concerns on the Peterborough, N.H., Facebook page last week, which prompted page moderator Rhianwyn Hall to remove the thread, citing complaints by more than one person.

In response, Hall posted a statement from ConVal High School Principal Heather McKillop, dated Sept. 14, that reads: “During the 2021/2022 school year, feedback from staff, students and parents indicated a need to address the number of students in the halls and bathrooms during class time. Based on this feedback, a group was formed in June that included teachers, school counselors, administrators and school nurses to discuss and revisit the E-hall pass allotment. The primary concern was the amount of time and number of students out of class, which was a disruption to the learning environment and posed a safety concern. Based on the feedback and discourse from the members of the group, a proposed shift in pass allotment was created and then shared with the Student Council for feedback.”

The response also states a news letter was sent to parents on July 29 outlining the changes in rules and procedures, “with a renewed focus on the learning climate in class and student accountability.”

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