E-Hall Pass: Helpful system or authoritarian dystopia?

Students express their opinion on hall pass requirement

Video+Screenshot

Video Screenshot

Gabriel Ball, Contributor

In the modern age, our privacy is threatened more than ever. As technology advances, so does surveillance capability. Social media companies are able to access our personal information and create customized databases about each of us as an individual. 

This raises the question: How much surveillance are we willing to accept? 

This question has become more relevant than ever before at Strath Haven High School. The introduction of the e-hall pass has students, staff, and parents divided. 

The September 13 Delco Times ran a front page news story on the introduction of the e-hall pass to Strath Haven. The Times received passionate Facebook responses to the change, including parents who likened it to “1984.”

E-hall pass is an electronic hall pass system. You select your destination and then the teacher approves the pass. A timer then begins counting how long you have been out of class. The introduction of the e-hall pass system was due to several concerns about efficiency and as a response to the use of QR codes for a pass system during the pandemic, according to an email from Dr. Hilden. 

Social Studies teacher Mr. Jeff Khan permitted a survey on the e-hall pass across all of his classes. The survey asked three questions: 1) What grade are you in? 2) Do you like the e-hall pass? 3) Why do you have that opinion? Respondents were given three general choices for their response: Yes, No, or not enough information. 

Out of the 55 students surveyed, 46 of them replied that they had a negative view of e-hall pass. Seven students responded that they positively viewed it, and two said they did not have enough information. 

The students that disapproved of e-hall pass mentioned several issues. The major complaint was about the efficiency and interface of the e-hall pass. One student responded, “I don’t think that its design is ideal. The concept works, in my opinion, but simply the way its interface, especially the student-side of its interface, is supposed to be used frustrates me a decent amount.” 

Students said that it took too much time to set up and complete the submission process, especially for when they just needed to go to the bathroom. 

Another common complaint was about the tracking aspect of the pass. Students viewed the timer as an unnecessary means of control.

The minority who viewed e-hall pass positively had multiple reasons to support it. These reasons included the elimination of having to touch the regular hall pass and the ability to move around the halls without having to have a normal pass. Six out of the seven people who viewed it positively were either seniors or juniors, while all but one of the sophomores viewed it negatively or were undecided.

The e-hall pass seems to be unpopular due to a variety of issues from the timer feature, the time it takes to set up, to the confirmation process. Though the survey was conducted using a relatively small group of students, its decisiveness across several grade levels offers strong evidence on the schoolwide opinion. 

While this suggests that the e-hall pass is deeply unpopular, it has only been in use for a number of weeks and schoolwide opinion may change.