Are Pre-Planned Study Halls a Good Idea?

By Emi Gruender

Oppose Premeditated Study Halls Petition

A rude awakening awaited Westmont students as soon as the final week of summer break crept around the corner. An email describing a new system of study hall that would be implemented that school year — many of us might have read the email with genuine curiosity that gradually sunk into disbelief. A study hall system in which students must plan out their study halls a week in advance? General doubt surrounded the new system before school even started, and now that its students have experiences with it, its unpopularity is clear with many (if not most) students– which raises the question: Are pre-planned study halls a good idea? 

Short answer: no. Combined with technological issues that may hinder or prevent a student from setting up study halls in the allotted time, the system in itself undermines the entire point of the study hall system. “Students should be in one of their own classes, preferably one that they need additional help in,” reads the Academic Support page of Westmont’s website. Though Westmont claims the entire point of study hall is to get additional help from teachers, the new Flexisched system stands to prevent a student’s access to help from a teacher about a short term issue. The current system of having to wait a week before getting allotted time with a teacher is a flawed system — how will a student meet with teachers to resolve problems that may be due the next day or even the day of?

 Furthermore, having to devote time to schedule study halls on top of a hectic schedule is yet another expectation stacked on the pile of demands — especially since the form closes at 8 pm. I might just be speaking for myself, but 8 p.m. marks the beginning of the night, when I finally have time to sit down and do my homework. 

A spontaneous study hall is the point of having a study hall in the first place. Making students decide where to go beforehand will not prompt students to actually do their schoolwork, as the administration assumes it will. Some may oppose this argument by saying that unstructured study halls allow students to do nothing but be on their phones during this precious allotted time, and while that may be true, this time provides an opportunity to recharge, rest, or simply prepare themselves for the rest of the school day — when they will certainly have to maintain concentration for long amounts of time. 

As much control as the administration tries to exercise over the student bodies, highschool students will often do what they want anyway — so might as well make the system accessible for students that aim to get things done during study hall, right? 

Oppose premeditated study halls, and fight to remove this new development in Westmont’s education system. Some ways to support abolishing this system is to email the faculty complaints (Jason Miller or Laura Saldana), gain teacher support for this cause, spread the petition link, and overall be loud. As long as we’re loud, they cannot ignore student unrest.