StaffStance: Junior Privileges, Please

Hockaday is great at many things, especially when it comes to the freedoms we get as students based on a policy of trust and self-responsibility. We are allowed often to take tests at home without proctors, are granted privileges like large portions of unsupervised free time during the day and the (relative) freedom and flexibility of junior flex plan and senior independent study (as far as the “relative” freedom of this plan, see page 20). But even though we are allowed these freedoms that some schools aren’t, there is one area where Hockaday seems unreasonably stringent: the lack of junior off-campus privileges.

Unlike our counterparts at ESD and St. Mark’s who are annually allotted these privileges (ESD juniors are allowed to go off-campus on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and St. Mark’s juniors are permitted to leave during their free periods at the start of their third trimester), Hockaday juniors don’t receive the same flexibility during the day. Aside from the fact that off-campus lunch is an incredibly enticing premise, our schedule can potentially allot three hours of free time—the perfect opportunity for juniors to take advantage of various tasks that need to get done during the day.

For example, as we sat around discussing what we would do with off-campus privileges, we arrived at one unanimous statement: honestly, we don’t really have time to go off-campus for a long lunch, but it would be so nice if we could meet with our SAT/ACT/AP Chem tutors during the day without having our moms make up a dentist appointment that we will never have a note for.

One factor deterring many students from supporting this idea is the fact that the seniors before us didn’t get them, and if one group waits, so must another class. Senior privileges are long awaited, and are a very special benefit received on account of good behavior. This mentality of “we didn’t get that so they shouldn’t either” is a dangerous one. Speaking as a staff of mainly juniors, we can vouch on their behalf that this a change that juniors deserve to see, even if current juniors are not the ones to reap the benefits.

The reality is that off-campus privileges for juniors will only serve to make their lives a little easier, and let’s all face reality and cut the juniors a little slack, whether they be next year’s juniors or the year after that, because as those of us who have experienced it know they’re going to need a little wiggle-room whenever they can get it.