Unfair limit for study halls for Seniors

Students go to the Media Center for their study halls

Sami Bender

Students go to the Media Center for their study halls

Sophia Ford

Study Halls are a time during the school day when students can get a head start on assigned work, work on projects, homework, etc. Many students who are taking challenging courses need these study halls in order to be successful. Students who also do a school sport or off-site activity have gym exemptions, which helps students get some of their work done before a long and late night practice. 

Bernards High School students are only permitted two study halls which include gym exemptions. Many students, including seniors like Summer Schnabolk, with a difficult workload, while also putting in time and dedication into a sport, do not think that only being allowed to have two study halls is fair. 

Senior, Summer Schnabolk says, “I think it is extremely unfair that students are only able to take two study halls, especially as seniors. Seniors at BHS are only required to take the full year of English, and one-quarter of health/life skills. Every other period in their schedule has to be filled, and many go into their senior year already having the required 121 credits. Given that many seniors are balancing jobs, after-school activities like sports, school work, and many AP classes, it would make sense for the school to allow for more than two study halls.”

In the 2019 – 2020 Program of Studies, it states that the maximum number of study hall periods per week into which a student must be scheduled is five for freshmen, ten for sophomores, and eleven for juniors and seniors. In the 2023-2024 Program of Studies, freshmen can only have 1 Study hall, while sophomores, juniors, and seniors can only have two. Now, the maximum number of study halls a student can have per year is the maximum amount of study hall periods a student used to have in a week.  

Before the drop and rotate schedule, students had their assigned study hall periods every day and every week, but now students are dropping study halls once or twice a week. Also, for students who take AP sciences courses, one of their study hall periods is taken away one or two days each week for a designated lab period. As well as this, seniors who get the privilege to leave school early or come in late lose a study hall period because they are not on the study hall rosters. This means they are losing two to three study hall periods per week. This can lead to some seniors having only three to four study hall periods a week. 

If the school were to go back to the maximum amount of study hall periods, a student could have in a week. It could be a game changer for seniors who have lab periods and use their senior privilege. It could allow them to have an extra study hall or a gym exemption to athletes who need that time to work. Seniors should not have the same study hall limit as a sophomore, just like sophomores should not have the privilege of coming to school late and leaving early. 

Summer Schnabolk also says, “especially with the drop and rotate schedule, you may not have any study halls on a particular day depending on when you drop your study hall period. I personally think they should update/change the rules for seniors, especially at the beginning of the year. Many of us are dealing with college applications, essays, and applying to scholarships as well. It can be shown that there is really no downside to allowing seniors to have more than two study hall periods.” 

The school needs to give more accommodations to seniors with busy schedules and give them a chance to get their work done so they can be successful in their last year of high school.