Is an Open Campus in Pentucket’s Future?


(Photographer: Jared Shepard)

Emma Fandel, Writer

Is an open campus something to expect in Pentucket’s future? Featured below are the pros, cons, opinions, and possible outcomes.

An open campus would allow students to leave the school’s property during lunches and free periods. This would almost surely have restrictions that could be made by administration, parents, and possibly even students. If the students abide by these rules and restrictions and respect this, then it could be very beneficial. 

Some of the teachers here at Pentucket have had experiences at both open campus and non-open campus schools and have had a variety of opinions and views. One of these people is Ms. Costello. She feels that students wouldn’t come back because the “temptation to leave would be too great.” An issue that occured where she previously worked was students would come back under the influence. This could definitely become an issue, but if the students know the consequences it may not be a big problem. Another problem she talked about was that underclassmen would leave the building with them. Since this privilege was only available to the senior class at the time, there was also the issue that underclassmen may leave with them.
However, another teacher at Pentucket believes that this would be a good thing to have. Their child goes to a school where they have an open campus and it seems to work well. They believe it would work well at Pentucket, and “if students are treated like adults they’ll act like adults.” It would be good for students to have a break in their day or to be able to go get lunch somewhere.

Students here at Pentucket have mixed opinions, however. Many lean more towards the side that it should be something to consider. The ages being asked were juniors and seniors, and the reason being that these are the grades that can drive and would be more apt to have this privilege.

Most of the people interviewed said they drive, and also said that they drive to school every day. The vast majority of people said that they think Pentucket should have an open campus. What was interesting about the group of people interviewed is that a large amount of them had already left the school during a study hall or lunch. When some people were found for an interview, they had just come back from leaving. Seeing this was helpful to answer and collect data for one of the questions. 

When asked, “Would students be more apt to skip the rest of the day, or would they come back after they leave?” there were mixed answers. A small number of students said that they think students would leave. A larger number of students commented that “a bunch of people already do leave and always come back.” Seeing that students had left but had come back made it clear that students would, in fact, come back for the rest of the day. If the school had an open campus policy and students did not come back, there could be consequences to make it more enforced. 

The cars belonging to students are right outside the school building and they have easy access to them. If they wanted to skip, they could and it wouldn’t be hard at all. Having an open campus policy may make it easier in some ways, but if students aren’t contemplating it or doing it now, then they probably wouldn’t if we had the policy. 

Students are stuck in the school from 7:35 in the morning until 2:15 in the afternoon and usually cannot leave. An open campus would allow students to catch a break or get some fresh air. These were two common reasons mentioned by students. 

Others included going out to get food, whether this was from home or somewhere else, and going home in case a student forgets something such as lunch, homework, or gear for sports. Another common response was to just have a little break because students agreed that “it’s healthy to take a break from being in the same building for six [or more] hours.” One senior said it would be useful for a “change of pace midway through the day. [It would] keep me awake!”

After hearing from students and teachers it was time to get the standpoint of administration. To hear if this was an idea that had been brought up before an interview with Vice Principal Kowalski was held. 

It has, in fact, been brought up before, and he had also worked at schools where this was a privilege for seniors. Kowalski said, “It’s effective and allows seniors to have more freedom. It also prepares them for college.” This was an interesting point that nobody else had brought up. Teachers are always talking about being prepared for college, and this could be a great way to prepare students before they are actually on a college campus, for it would teach them responsibility. He also said that, in order to keep people from abusing this privilege, there could be consequences if you don’t return. Another way to go about this that was an interesting point was that the seniors could make the rules. If you abuse the privilege you could lose it, or there could be three strikes before a student is prohibited from leaving the school during a free period. He thinks that students would come back, although it may be tempting once warm weather hits. If they don’t come back, that’s on them.

After reading a variety of different views, do you think it would be beneficial? Would you like to see an open campus in the future?