Senate re-passes Sophomore Lecture Hall Bill

By Alex Gershanov
Published: February 2010

Much to the discontent of many second semester sophomores, the Lecture Hall Release Act of 2009 was revoked for 2010.

According to Principal Joel Stembridge, the act, which was signed and passed by former Principal Brian Salzer last year, was never presented to the Faculty Council, which would have first needed to approve it.

Attempting to reinstate the policy through the correct decision making process, the South Senate unanimously re-passed the act (19-0) and presented it to Stembridge on January 28.

The Lecture Hall Release Act of 2009 exempted all second semester sophomores from study halls arising from canceled classes. Since the act’s revocation, sophomores with canceled classes have been attending study halls in Room 6167 due to the lecture hall’s use for presentations.

To be released from second semester scheduled study halls, sophomores must have parents sign release forms. Stembridge was concerned that the parents who did not agree to releases from scheduled study halls may not approve of their kids having unmonitored free blocks from canceled classes.

“If there was a sophomore whose class was canceled and whose parents expected them to be in study hall, and something unfortunate were to happen to this student, those parents would wonder ‘Ëœwhy did you let them out of study hall?’ he said.

The agreed upon decision-making structure of South is based on equal representation from all constituents of the school. The South Senate represents the voice of the students, the PTSO represents the voice of the parents, and the Faculty Council represents the voice of the school’s staff. A bill must go through all three groups to be passed by the principal.

The Committee on Program, made up of administration, faculty, and teachers met on February 8 and concluded that the bill required further discussion before more steps could be taken.

Senate President and senior Ben Chelmow stated that the re-passed bill remained unchanged but will follow the correct process to be approved.

“Ideally, things will progress normally and sophomores will no longer have to attend lecture halls, he said.

Stembridge, however, believes that passing the act will not be “a quick decision. Approving the act may require tweaking the word choice to imply study hall release of sophomores with parental consent.

“We’re probably looking at March before we have a resolution, Stembridge said. “We want to get this right.

Not all students, though, are certain that the revocation of the act will have much effect on them.

“Repercussions for skipping [study hall] were few and far between, sophomore Emily Malec-Brown said.

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