Students sit and study in the uncomfortable tan brown chairs in the media center, while classical music and dull NPR commentary plays in the background. While some students have the priviledge to leave school grounds, others are forced to remain on campus.
RBHS gives freedom to its sophomores, juniors and seniors via Alternating Unassigned Time (AUT), but sophomores are unable to leave the school grounds during their AUT. Meanwhile, with parental permission, juniors and seniors have have the privilege to leave school grounds during AUT. Sophomores are responsible and trustworthy enough to handle the freedom of leaving school grounds during their free block time.
Along with the ability to leave the school during AUT, upperclassmen can also get a release time, or a block of time allowing students to skip school and come first period or leave fourth period. Because most juniors and seniors have cars, this release time allows them to sleep in longer, do homework at home in the morning or leave school early.
It makes sense that the oldest in the school have the most freedom. For the upperclassmen college is only one or two years away. College in many ways is different from high school, one of them being the amount of freedom. In college, students are allowed more freedom than in high school.
With most of the upperclassmen driving they can supposedly use their AUT to their advantage more than the sophomores can. But that doesn’t mean that sophomores can’t take full advantage of being able to leave the school grounds during AUT’s as well.
Sophomores can handle the freedom of release time and the ability to leave the school during their AUT. The transition from middle school to highschool is a big step in amounts of freedom. In middle school there is very limited freedom, with required passes to go to the bathroom or to students lockers. During their time as freshmen, sophomores learned what “freedom with responsibility” means, and already know what is acceptable and expected out of RBHS students. Some sophomores turn 16 before school starts and most turn 16 before the end of the school year, that means they are able to drive and start carrying more responsibility. Sophomores students can utilize their time in AUT in the same way as the juniors and seniors can.
The rules regarding AUT in RBHS are in the student handbook. According to the handbook, AUT’s purpose is to “allow students flexibility in structuring their non-class time and to establish an environment of trust and respect in which students can learn time management.”
Restricting sophomore students to school grounds is not allowing “students flexibility in structuring their non-class time” Sophomores should be able to decide what they do during their AUT, including if they want to leave school grounds. When sophomores are in school, teachers still try to keep students on track by asking them if they are doing homework or studying. The students are still babysat, which is not “establishing an environment of trust and respect in which students can learn time management.” Sophomores can not learn how to manage their time if they are not given the freedom to do something other than be at school and do homework. Even without a car students can take a walk down the street to clear their head, or buy food, but RBHS has to put more trust into their 10th graders. Sophomores can manage their time to be able to get their school work done and have free time, just as juniors and seniors are trusted to do.
Let sophomore students figure out how to be responsible with their time and schoolwork. Administrators, change the rules regarding AUT and realize that sophomores are not as immature as you think and they should be given the same opportunities as the upperclassmen.