The Issues With eHallpass
Four weeks ago, Loveland High School rolled out a new hall pass system using an app called eHallpass. This app incorporates a more managerial approach to leaving the classroom. According to The Washington Post, eHallpass has been implemented in nearly 600 school districts across the country. In its first few weeks, the new system has been met with backlash from many students, and even some faculty members.
To begin, the app requires you to request permission to leave the classroom from your device. This has brought disruptions to classrooms because teachers have to stop class to allow a student to use the bathroom. So if high school student Christian Chase wants to go to the bathroom, he has to be approved and monitored, telling The Washington Post “I just think it’s a violation of our privacy, and I don’t think it’s something that needs to be in place. I would understand if it was something for specific people or even underclassmen.” While there is an “auto-pass” feature, many teachers don’t know how or choose not to use it. Even when auto-pass has been utilized, the responsibility to mark when you leave and return is left in the students’ hands, defeating the entire point.
Another concern brought to light is the issue of privacy. Many students are concerned that their location and personal information are vulnerable because of eHallpass. Although eHallpass doesn’t use GPS tracking, the privacy concern stems from the school's knowledge of where you are at all times, even going as far as to require students to input which bathroom they are going to. Although schools will typically wipe all the data annually, they still hold on to a lot of personal data and information throughout the year.
An additional criticism comes from the high cost of the service. eHallpass costs $3 per student, plus a one time implementation fee of $1000. Loveland has 1,381 students at the high school - meaning eHallpass is costing the school around $5,200 for the high school alone and is also going to be implemented at the middle school adding an extra $2,200, bringing the district total to $7,400, a lot of money for a district that can’t afford high school bussing. To its critics, eHallpass is seen as a waste of money.
This new system was implemented because of excessive damage to the bathrooms. While it is understandable that the administration is angry that the bathrooms are often messy, but they must remember that these problems are only coming from a few students. It's not fair to punish everyone for the actions of the few. Collective punishment is unfortunate for those who didn’t do anything wrong. Whether Loveland decides to continue with this system or not, the app will continue to face controversy throughout the school district.
There are more efficient ways to run a school bathroom system, ones that don’t invade privacy or waste taxpayer money. There will be dissatisfaction from people who oppose eHallpass, but many are even questioning if this is a responsible use of taxpayer money from a school that can’t afford bussing.