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Study Halls: Why Do We Need Them?

It is 2017, and as the new school year rolls around, with it comes a new flock of freshmen, bright eyed and ready to enter into a new environment. And while freshmen year holds a lot of excitement and whimsy to a fourteen-fifteen year old child, it also comes with a painstaking burden. This burden goes by the name of study hall.

Study hall, a three syllable, nine letter synonym for prison. Year after year students are forced to enter the school without one of the most important liberties that come with being a high school student, free periods. Free periods are an embodiment of the much needed freedom and individuality that students are deprived of in middle school. Without free periods, it is as if these freshmen are continuing to be coddled and contained, just in a new building with new surroundings. It is for this reason that I decided to do a bit of research on the opinions of those who have been through and are currently residing in study halls.

My first subject on the matter was sophomore Charlie Hunter, who was unapologetic about voicing his negative opinions towards study halls.

In an interview that took place in the cafeteria, Hunter was quoted saying,

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“Study halls are pointless because you can skip them and not get in trouble. They are very unproductive and having to get a signed pass to leave is very annoying.””

— Sophomore Charlie Hunter

As someone who too has had to endure the hardship of study halls, I decided to seek out the opinion of someone trapped on the inside, locked up and forced to sit in a confined space for 48 minutes of boredom and imprisonment. In the far reaches of the cafeteria where the freshman sit, I found my victim. Ninth grader Hayden Puff was eager to give me his opinion of having to be in study hall.

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“I hate study hall, I always go on my phone and never get any work done. They’re a waste of time.””

— Freshman Hayden Puff

Two classes, one opinion. Both freshmen and sophomores alike are eager to display their detestation towards study halls.

In the morning I ventured over to the math department to seek the opinion of the former Vice Principal turned math teacher, Mr. Sullivan. I needed the opinion of an adult with no negative bias toward study halls, someone who genuinely believed that they were a helpful tool to our school’s youngest citizens. I sat Mr. Sullivan down at the back counter in the Math Learning Connections Room, and asked him a few questions on what he thought about freshmen having to take study halls, and what benefit they served them.

“I think that study halls are a necessary part of the transition between 8th and 9th grade. Freshmen are coming up into the High School from the structure and security of the Middle School. A free time in the which they are confined to one place is a good balance because of how much freedom they have in their new schedules. Study halls serve as a good segway into the adaptation of high school life.”

While not the worst thing about being a freshmen, study halls are a major let down for those who are ready to ditch the shackles and restraints of Middle School and embrace the freedom and adult-like treatment of High School. To be fair, there is, as Mr. Sullivan explained, there is some decent reasoning and benefits to why we have study halls. When entering a new place for the first time, it can be somewhat overwhelming to be all alone and in charge of your own time. A place to be and some familiar faces could take some of the stress off of a busy new lifestyle. Boring and tedious or not, study halls are not purely created for the torture of our 9th grade students.

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