DHS hall passes prove to be potentially contaminated with e.coli

Mia Boudreau, Reporter

“Take the pass” is the typical response a student will hear from a teacher when they ask permission to leave the classroom. The start of the 2017-2018 school year brought many changes to DHS, including the addition of “clipboard hall passes.”

Students are supposed to take the pass with them everytime they leave the classroom for safety purposes, but have they really been beneficial?

The passes provide a way to monitor who is out of the room, and if a student is stopped in the hallway, other teachers have a way to know where they are supposed to be.

The hall passes are useful in the sense that teachers and security can see who has gotten permission from their teacher to leave, and who is just ditching and wandering the halls,” said Fr. Savannah Bergman.

Although the intended use for the hall passes is clear to both students and teachers alike, they are still proving to be ineffective.

“Some kids don’t take them anyways, because everyone is so strongly against them, and when kids don’t take them it defeats the purpose,” said So. Clara Galbraith.

Most students have never even been stopped in the hallway by a teacher or a security guard. Which raises questions about the effectiveness of the passes.

“I don’t think that hall passes are all that effective because no one is really monitoring the hall to make sure people have passes. If anything, they are making things more complicated and spreading germs,” said Bergman.

Another common concern raised about the hall passes is sanitation. The passes are taken to and from the bathroom and rarely, if ever, get disinfected.

“They’re really disgusting, the fact that everyone uses them and takes them everywhere, you never know who had it last,” said Galbraith.

DHS science teacher Eric Jackson said that most teachers never clean the passes because they don’t ever have to use them, so it never crosses their mind.

As of now, there are mixed responses on whether the current hall passes should be altered, eradicated, or just remain the same.

“I would suggest that students should start using the hall passes in our planners to keep sanitary or just eliminate them completely and then have teachers take a second attendance to mark people who may have left,” said Bergman.

While some students think that the hall passes need to go, there are some who are not as bothered.

I wouldn’t get rid of them at this point, although they are super unsanitary and kind of a hassle, I think it gives teachers a peace of mind as to who is out of the room,” said Sr. Emma Vogel.

An alternate view is to alter the hall passes but keep the same concept.

“If I had the choice I would keep the hall passes but switch them to something cleaner and more sanitary,” said Jr. Colson Parker.

El Diablo conducted an experiment with the support of the DHS Science Department on the hall passes to find out how contaminated they really are. The test was done using a simple bacteria swab kit with agar plates.

Nine passes were swabbed from different departments around the school. A control clipboard was also swabbed, which was used for academic purposes, but not as a hall pass. After swabbing the clipboards with a sterile cotton swab, the bacteria was then swiped on to agar plates and set up in an incubator for the bacteria to grow.

After the incubation period, the agar plates showed substantial bacterial growth.

The plates that had the most widespread growth would be the worst because there is a greater amount of bacteria, followed by the plates with large clumps which indicates that the bacteria was reproducing quickly,” said Jackson.

In comparison to the results from the control clipboard, the results from the hall pass clipboards had much more widespread bacterial growth, while the control clipboard had more concentrated bacterial growth.

There is not a sure way to determine the type of bacteria with the resources we had, but Mr. Jackson was able to analyze the plates.

“I would say based on the results, it is quite obvious that people handling the clipboards are not always washing their hands and/or teachers are not disinfecting their clipboards regularly. Because of this, the clipboards could be carriers for bacteria. As far as the type of bacteria… I would say it is Escherichia coli also known as e.coli which can make people sick,” said Jackson.

The hall passes proved to be contaminated, and could potentially be getting people sick. Based on student feedback, they don’t seem to be keeping students especially safe, and they are not well regulated. These passes have shown evidence that they could possibly be more detrimental than beneficial to the students of Durango High School.