The Right to Sign Out

Molly Barry

Senior year is a big year for most students. A multitude of responsibilities such as driving, choosing colleges, and finding a place in the world begins. Some responsibilities are a given, such as being able to dress yourself in the morning and doing well in school, but who say’s students wouldn’t be responsible enough to have an open campus?

At Ipswich High School, if you are 18 you are not allowed to sign yourself out of school. In regards to this, students and parents seem to have different opinions. Students feel as though if you are 18 you are now a “legal adult” and should be given the responsibilities of being in control of your attendance. Most students also believe that when you are 18 you shouldn’t have to have your parents be your voice, that being 18 is a time in your life where you have your own voice and make your own decisions.

Parents often have a very different view about these ideas, and from speaking with parents, some are dead set against it. While in an interview with a parent who seeks to remain anonymous, they were dead set against the idea of having 18 year old students signing themselves out. The interviewee states, “18 year olds shouldn’t have the chance to be able to sign themjouralismselves out. It’s asking for trouble, and it would condone students leaving school whenever they wanted.”

Another parent feels differently on the subject, Karen Barry a registered nurse who subbed for the school nurse from time to time states, “ I believe with parent confirmation, students could be able to sign themselves out. I don’t believe that a student should be able to just walk out, but if a parent had written consent that a student could sign themselves out, I see no problem with it.”
Students are puzzled by the fact that they can’t sign themselves out. As a now “ legal adult” students have been thrown all new responsibilities but are still restricted by the one rule that they are not in control of whether they can leave school premises. Ideas such as “ open campus” have been lingering among students who would jump at the opportunity to take a quick trip from the next door Pomodori’s.

During my interview with an Ipswich High School student, Kate Brown, she agrees that students who are eligible should be able to sign themselves out. She quotes, “Yes, 18 year olds are considered adults in our society; I can agree that some students may take advantage of the privilege, but for the students who would use it responsibly it shouldn’t be revoked.”
Some positive aspects of students being able to sign themselves out need to be seen. Such as the fact if a student is sick and can’t get through to their parents, they have to sit in the nurse’s office and wait for their parents. As an 18 year old, I believe students should be able to take on new responsibilities. I am a firm believer in trial and error. If the school would be willing to give older students a chance and it ended up not working out, it could be out of the question once again. But if it in fact it did work out, I believe it could benefit the students, parents, and the school.