This article first appeared at www.lehighvalleylive.com | Written by Rudy Miller | August 21, 2022
A new e-hall pass system will allow Easton Area High School students to ask for bathroom passes over their iPads and will allow teachers and administrators to regulate how many kids are in the halls and limit access to certain areas of the building, according to Easton Area High School Principal Kyle Geiger.
“It will really help us to track patterns of students in the hallway,” Geiger said.
Administrators can set limits on the number of students out on hall passes at the high school at any given time, according to school board Vice President Meg Sayago. When the maximum number is reached, no more students are allowed out until someone returns to class.
Students can use the system to request permission to go to the bathrooms, a locker, the library, a specific teacher’s classroom, the nurse’s office, the principal or guidance.
The system was piloted at the middle school last year.
“It was favorably received by the teachers and administration,” Sayago said.
e-hallpass keeps a record of how many times a student uses a hall pass, when they left to go to the bathroom and when they returned. That information can be helpful when administrators want to track down which students might have trashed a bathroom or left threatening messages on a bathroom wall.
Knowing which students had access to a vandalized bathroom can turn a five-hour investigation into a 30-minute one, according to Director of Safe Schools John Remaley.
The system also helps teachers and administrators flag students who take too many bathroom breaks.
Students also have Smart IDs they use to swipe in to school each day. That system went into place about four years ago.
The school board, back in 2018, decided to limit the use of ID cards. The board considered requiring students to swipe the cards every time they got on and off a school bus and every time they entered and exited a classroom. That software was costly and at least one board member questioned whether that system went too far toward creating an institutional setting rather than a welcoming one.
Back in 2019, the school board rejected a $55,000 software upgrade for students to swipe in to each classroom. There was a $16,000 renewal fee with that plan.
Board members Brian Snyder and Bill Whitman voted against the e-hall pass system. You can see their vote on a YouTube video of the meeting.
Snyder said Whitman requested an in-person demonstration of how the system works when it was used in the middle school last year. Since they didn’t get the demonstration, they weren’t comfortable approving the plan, he said.