For Better or for Worse? Paint Branch’s New Hall Sweep Rule

Amina Sankoh, Staff Writer

As high school students, we have all shown up late to class at least one time whether it was on accident or on purpose. But what if that tardy had harsh consequences? Well, no need to ponder that question anymore as those consequences are now a reality. 

Starting January 31st, Paint Branch High School has increased the number of hall sweeps and the consequences students will face if caught in a sweep. According to an email/post from Dr. Mirshah on the school’s decision to increase their vigilance toward tardiness, the point of the move is to ensure that students get to their classes on time. In the email sent to Paint Branch parents, Dr. Mirshah states that “Safety within Paint Branch High School is our first priority. This program will reduce the number of students in the hallways and will assist everyone in moving through the school safely and expeditiously.”

One area that is of specific focus in this new policy is students returning late from lunch. According to Dr. Mirshah’s post, late students will go to the auditorium instead of class for the entire period, and any food they have will be confiscated and held in the main office until the end of the day. While the tardiness after lunch is of extreme importance and is a clear focus of the new plan, Dr. Mirshah notes that hall sweeps will happen throughout the school day at random. If a student is caught in a hall sweep during any period other than fifth, they will be assigned a 15-minute silent, phone-free detention during LAP on a specific day. 

However, while safety is important it can be addressed in a different way than hall sweeps.

This new rule is not, in my opinion, going to solve the problem that Paint Branch has in relation to tardy students. In fact, I think it’s adding to the problem. School is a place where education is valued, for both students and staff. This is why students not going to 5th period and instead serving time in the auditorium sounds wrong; it is education time wasted. What if a student’s fifth-period class is learning something new or has a unit test that day? Not being allowed to go to that class for being just a few minutes late is wrong. Life is not always on-time and sometimes unexpected situations come up, so you shouldn’t punish people for what they cannot control. 

Some will argue that students need to learn lessons and need to learn to be prompt and handle consequences which is reasonable, but I ask them to think about those people who are not chronically late. Since hall sweeps are going to be random, what if a person who studied for a test in their 5th period gets caught in the hall sweep and misses the test they really prepared for due to it? Sure, they’ll be able to make the test up, but they may have to do so after school or at lunch, and all of their preparation for the test ends up being for nothing. Being late one time should not have such an effect on a student.  

Although I understand and agree that coming in from lunch later than the bell should have consequences, I think the current plan is not the way to solve it. I believe harsh consequences should be held for the constantly late, not the unfortunate. Having lunch detention is manageable and fair, but you shouldn’t take away students’ education time.