Senior Privilege at IHS

Caragh Coughlin, Journalist

As a senior at Ipswich High School, I am very grateful for getting the opportunity to have senior privilege. If you are unsure as to what senior privilege is, it’s when you are given the opportunity to leave the school during R blocks or lunch and go wherever you please. Not every senior gets senior privilege, hence the privilege part. In order to be eligible to receive this privilege, you need to be on top of your grades, making sure you’re not failing any classes; you can’t have a certain amount of absences or tardies. You also need to be free of any disciplinary action with the principal. Although many of my fellow senior classmates and friends are extremely fond of this privilege, we still have a few doubts and questions. One question being, why can’t we leave school during VHS classes or advisory with our senior privilege? 

Pia Stewart, a senior at Ipswich High School who participates in a VHS class was very intrigued on getting the answer to this question. Before interviewing Pia, I was curious about whether or not seniors were ever allowed to leave during VHS classes with senior privilege, so I knew I had to incorporate that question into the interview. When asked, Pia stated that “during Covid, students were allowed to leave the building during VHS classes in order to try and minimize the amount of people in the building at a time. This year it’s different and students are not allowed to leave and even have to stay in the library at all times.” With that being said, last year’s seniors were able to leave school during VHS classes which seniors this year do not find fair. 

Students who were enrolled in VHS classes at the beginning of this year sent an email to Mr. Mitchell and asked him if there was any way they would be allowed to leave, to which he responded by saying no because it would be unfair to people who didn’t take VHS. Ultimately, Mr. Mitchell didn’t want people to take a VHS class just because they would get the benefit of being allowed to leave, which  is understandable. 

After learning all of this valuable information from Pia, it piqued my interest even more on finding out Mr. Mitchell’s reasoning towards all of this and where he was coming from. I then knew that the next person I needed to interview was obviously Mr. Mitchell, so that’s just what I did. When asked who made the final decision to not allow seniors to leave during advisory or VHS, Mr. Mitchell answered by stating “It was a school council decision, not just me or Mrs. Collura.

Later on in the interview, I indulged more on the aspect of the whole advisory portion of this issue. When I looked up online what advisory periods in schools are meant for, it came up with an article by the Responsive Classroom. They stated that “Advisory is a key time for discussing important issues and helping students become invested in doing their part to create a strong, vibrant, healthy school community where they can flourish.” With this given information, I then asked Mr. Mitchell what the purpose is of our advisory block to which he responded by stating “it’s for students to develop a trusting relationship with another adult in the building, and to be able to share questions and concerns with the adult. It also helps in creating a sense of community in our school and gives students a chance to interact with peers that they don’t know a lot about.” After hearing this, I realized that maybe not for seniors, but for the freshman, sophomores, and juniors I think that advisory is a very important class to have. 

All in all, I am still very thankful that our school gives seniors the opportunity to have senior privilege, even if we aren’t allowed to leave during advisory or VHS.