Are school rules too restrictive?
On Monday through Friday, we walk into a professional working environment, where all year twelve students should study four AS levels (to many students’ delight!) and mobile phones must never be in sight in the corridor. When in class, we must stay in silence unless spoken to, if you even look in your form diary, you will be asked to stand up whenever somebody other than a student walks in, unless asked not to.
So what’s all the fuss about? Some of these rules and policies seem outdated and frankly, pompous and unnecessary. We live in a modern world where phones are commonplace, people no longer have status unless they earn it and young people are becoming more and more independent.
Well firstly, we are told that school rules are to help us grow into individuals who are responsible and know what is right and wrong. However, even the slightest practical things such as looking at a phone to check the time during lesson, texting a parent in-between lessons in a corridor and looking at BBC News are frowned upon, despite how useful and responsible these uses are. I understand why some are complaining about the overly excessive use of mobile phones in school, however a blanket ban, like they have at other schools or even just being shouted down the corridors which is what happens here, is not at all useful and causes even more disruption than it has to.
The second reason schools stick to policies, rules and traditions is because they want us to end up being happy and healthy individuals…well, some of them have the reverse impact. At my old school, tradition was not often thought of, and as a result it felt more like a business which did have a negative impact on some people’s well-being as not enough emphasis was put on values. However, some schools stick to tradition so much that people can’t speak freely and, in some cases, are discouraged from having any relationships with the threat of expulsion, as is the case in a private school environment. Such policies bottle young people up to the point that when they are released from what feels like a prison, they instantly snap and start behaving inappropriately, which has many detrimental impacts.
So what can schools do to stop this becoming a serious problem? In my view, do not hark back to traditional and keep long-lasting policies, but do what is needed to keep students happy, healthy and hopeful. Even if it means tolerating mobile phone use a little bit more, or allowing someone to drop an AS subject. If students know that they are supported in doing what they want to do at their best, and have that forceful pressure lifted off them, maybe people will begin to do better and students may end up being much less depressed, something we all want.