Playing by the rules can hurt more than help


Photo courtesy of Constanza Hasselmann

Art teacher Katherine Rehm sells tickets at a Friday night football game, where rules about reentry have been put to the test.

Oracle Staff

Any county as large as FCPS has a bundle of procedures and regulations that allow it to run smoothly, but at times those rules can impede positive action.
In order for programs to be uniform across the state, regulations must be put in place to ensure safety. However, not all rules are particularly clear, and there are times when few know they exist at all. For example, there is a safety policy concerning game admission that forces those who leave to repurchase a ticket upon re-entry.
This policy is included but not enforced by VHSL, and recommended by FCPS but not required. This leaves it up to each region to decide.
To clarify, the Virginia High School League, or VHSL, divides the state into regions one through six, which subdivide into conferences one through eight. West Springfield is part of region 6A, conference seven for all of our extracurricular activities.
The rule prohibiting re-entry is ancient—it has been around for about 30 years and is supposedly displayed on all ticket booths, although it isn’t very visible considering how few people are aware of it.
During the Homecoming game, two students walked out during halftime to prepare for a date proposal. They were stopped and notified that they would have to pay to re-enter, agreed and walked about five feet, where one student decided to go back in.
The ticket-takers, who were in view of the students the entire time, would not allow the student back in. They cited the “county rule” to justify the action, but the rude manner in which they were told angered the student. While they had notified the students before, it was an arbitrary use of power justified by a rule that even some WS administrators are unaware of.
There are more policies in WS that are well-known but far from well-liked. One implemented two years ago says that all doors leading into the building are locked during school hours and one must go to entrance one to ask the main office to be let in.
This policy would be fine, of course, if it weren’t for the kids in trailers who must wait for a student inside to take pity on them and open a door to allow them to get to their classes on time. With the impending renovations, which will put half of the school in trailers, it’s bound to be one more thing impeding learning.
Another rule that was put in place this year in response to the lack of custodians forbade eating anywhere outside of the cafeteria, The Writing Center, or ASAP.
We are a group of students who are growing, skipping breakfast, and just generally hungry, who feel the impact of this policy throughout the day. Even if most teachers did not allow food in the classroom to begin with, the rule is now enforced by all teachers to the point where some students will sit quietly in the hallway between classes eating a muffin to avoid their teacher’s wrath.
Others have purposely stayed in certain classrooms during lunch to remain away from the cafeteria, even if the class is not their own. Through all this, students are understandably bitter about the change.
Due to the uncompromising nature of all these regulations, WS students have grown increasingly wary of any novel policies that govern the school day.
We want to know what is going on, and be assured that the administrators are thoroughly informed as well: after all, everyone in the building feels the impact of policies, no matter their purpose here.