Two of the inquiries that a teacher most often encounters isn’t class-related or intellectual, rather two that procure a simple “yes” or “no” in response: “May I go to the bathroom?” and “Can I eat a snack?” In fact, these question should not even merit “no” as an answer. Think about it: having the option to relieve oneself in the bathroom and fulfill ones’ appetite should be every student’s natural right.
For most students, bathroom passes were first introduced in middle school and were likely designed to keep students from wandering around campus, thus abusing bathroom breaks. Some teachers understand the urgency of bathroom breaks (i.e. during a girl’s ‘time of month;’ after one unknowingly consumes expired dairy products, among others), but a large number of teachers have a rather Hobbesian view of students’ natural natures, believing that consent to the six-worded question too easily allows students to cut and waste class time. These teachers periodically go so far as to refuse all bathroom inquiries, giving students with genuine emergencies quite a predicament.
However, high school students are simply that: high school students — not middle schoolers who are still learning the skills of time management. Teenagers must be entrusted with the decision of whether or not they want to miss valuable instruction time in order to get some fresh air. Going up and asking a teacher for permission to leave the classroom is merely a waste of time and only serves as a distraction to the rest of the class.
Making it through seven-hour school days for a teenager going through puberty also poses another difficult task: maintaining a full stomach. Even though there may only be an hour-and-a-half or two-hour time block in between brunch and lunch, it is quite easy for one to become hungry only minutes after eating a snack during breaks.
Students ought to have the right to choose to eat whenever they want to during class periods, provided they maintain a neat classroom environment by picking up their own trash. Although this freedom and the aforementioned one become increasingly present as Palo Alto High School rise from grade to grade, it should be a natural right for students in all four grades.
As most students know, paying attention and learning during class on an empty stomach is difficult. Pulling out a quick snack and quietly eating during a lecture is a quick-fix solution. Many teachers restrict food within the classroom because they fear that students will abuse the privilege by leaving the classroom in a worse condition than they found it. However, much like going to the bathroom, teenagers ought to be entrusted with these freedoms until proven otherwise.
A teenager’s worst fear is being “babied” by authorities figures. Having to ask to eat during class or for permission to leave the classroom to go to the bathroom are a nuisance for the student, teacher and classroom itself. The Campanile believes that the administration should institute new policies to relieve these nuisances.