Putting More Trust in Our Students

Henry Maw, Reporter

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Many EMS students believe that they do not have enough freedom during the school day. The eighth graders, in particular, will soon will be leaving EMS and going into freer environments; the lack of experience managing their free time at school might inhibit the graduating students from managing their time effectively in high school.   Currently, students are usually required to be under direct teacher supervision, an unnecessary restriction given that most middle school students (the ones 12 and older) are old enough to hang out at home alone and even babysit without supervision.

There are two times in the day when students should be given more freedom. The first is during snack, when students are currently supposed to stay in their assigned area by grade. The second time is during lunch, where student areas are currently assigned by advisory. Students need more freedom because in high school, they won’t have teachers telling them where they need to be every single second of every single day. At 12-14 years old, we are old enough to know right from wrong, and responsible enough to manage our own time.

At lunch time, students have to be in a certain room while eating lunch. If none of their friends are in the same lunch room, the student has to eat alone. I believe we should have more freedom to eat with our friends and choose the room in which we eat. In addition, some  eighth graders are friends with seventh graders, but the two different grades have no time to hang out together. Lunch would be a great time for friends in different grades to hang out, but the grades are split up. All of the grades, fifth grade through eighth, should have freedom to be where they want during the free times, snack and lunch. For example, Saddle River Country Day School, which is a similar size as EMS, has a snack time and a lunch time during which students can go wherever they like.

Several things need to be changed, primarily the freedom of picking lunch rooms and snack places, as well as general freedom and the amount of trust placed in students. Maybe snack and lunch could be restructured for students to have a certain number of areas open to them and supervised by teachers, and they could choose where to spend their time. An open dialog between students and teachers on this issue could result in a better relationship and maybe a good solution to this issue. Without more freedom, students will not be fully prepared for high school when they will have no one telling them where they need to be. Many of us are 12, 13, and 14 year old students– we have the best of intentions to follow the rules and behave ourselves, and I believe we should be given the chance to earn the trust of the teachers.

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Putting More Trust in Our Students