Let them be free! Juniors want rights too.

Olivia Ivins '20, Community Writer

     Receiving one’s free period privileges can be a major milestone in a WFS student’s academic career. Free periods allow students to catch up on work, relax between classes, meet with teachers or other students, or do anything else they want (within school policy)! Although this landmark may seem minor in some eyes, many would agree how monumental it can be for the upperclassmen. A comparable occasion is a student moving from the lower school to the upper school campus. Both of these events present milestones of independence. However, a typical side effect of receiving freedom is wanting more of it. Protocol for free periods has come into question recently by some WFS students that feel some rules could be loosened or even changed. While upperclassmen are extremely appreciative for receiving their free period privileges, some believe there are rules that justify a reconsideration.

     After speaking with students about problems emerging from free periods, the majority commented on the regulations regarding food. Following occasions of students disrespectfully leaving their garbage in lounge areas instead of properly disposing of it, a rule was established to forbid eating in the most populated areas for students in their frees. These areas consist of the lounge in front of the library and the area outside the theater. Peyton McNeill ’19, states “When I am working, I usually like to eat, especially if I did not have time for breakfast, but since this rule was put into place, I cannot.” Understandably, the ban on eating seems a bit harsh considering students need brain fuel! This issue was raised most frequently, but coincidentally may show the most promise for reconsideration. Upper school  Dean for Students, Ildikó Miller, commented on this directly, “Food crumbs are around lockers and other hallways, so if these areas were to be opened up for eating they can be controlled and easily monitor-able.” Hopefully with this solution, students will be able to refuel and work at the same time in the places they enjoy. The biggest concern regarding eating is the trash left behind. Luckily this problem can be easily solved by placing proper receptacles in the most populated areas. Trash and recycling bins should be in any areas with seating, even benches!

     The second most common trouble occurs when signing in and out during a free period. Senior privileges allow seniors to leave campus throughout the day by signing in and out at the front office. Jacob Jaworski ’20 argues, “Receiving my frees is a privilege already. Why are the seniors granted extended privileges beyond the juniors?” The Quaker SPICES were introduced as part of the discussion, specifically equality. This reminded some students of a simulation where a group of people began at the same start line of a race and then each person, according to certain prompts, would take steps forward or backward. Following a similar system, students receiving their privileges could begin at the start line (all of the privileges offered) and would take steps backward when they are not meeting the necessary standards.

     As a senior who is in good academic standing, one is able to not only sign out, but leave if their classes are over for the day. A junior is only granted this permission with a note from a parent or guardian. An obstacle arises when working parents and guardians are too busy to write an email every time their student needs to leave campus for any particular reason. A solution for this is to create one document that parents and students sign together that states their permission for their child to have this liberty, similar to the technology agreement. Parents would then have the power to admit or decline their child from having this privilege. Preventing this from happening, presumably, is WFS’s legal responsibility for the well being of every student from the time they arrive to school until they officially leave for the day. This concern is completely valid, but does not explain the rationale behind this privilege granted to seniors. So, will juniors receive more free privileges? Probably not, but only time will tell.