New year, new rules

New measures for next year encourage accountablity


Next school year, Jones students will face new accountability measures that the administration hopes will discourage violations of school policy. 

Those infractions include illicit elevator use and frequent tardiness. When students return to school next year, those violations of school policy will result in punishments, including detentions. Administration intends to inform students of these changes at the start of the next school year. 

“We’ll have an updated Student Handbook [next year],” Principal Paul Joseph Powers said.  

That handbook will include changes to the rules surrounding elevator use, tardiness, and dress code, along with new punishment standards, with the highest being detentions. Detentions have been utilized in past years, but in order to ease the transition back into in-person learning, administration chose not to issue them this year. 

“This year was [the freshman and sophomores] first high school experience. We wanted to be more lenient to help with all of that,” school culture coordinator Pablo Lopez said. “Everybody knows the routine now [and should] know how to get here on time. Tardiness and elevator usage is way out of proportion. We get that it’s hard, but at the same time, so many students did it before [the pandemic] and they were fine with it.”

Lopez confirmed that Jones isn’t taking this action as an impediment to students, but to encourage them to hold themselves to a higher standard. 

“I want [students] to be accountable and hold themselves to that standard. I don’t want them to think of this as a punishment or being disciplined because the truth is that [students] should want to do better,” Lopez said. “We’re doing a disservice to our students if we’re not holding them accountable.”

Administration is still hashing out the exact policy for next year. 

“We have a list of things, including our new policies that [administration] will tack on and talk about over the summer to make sure that we’re addressing them,” Assistant Principal Yvette Torres said. 

Use of the elevator by students without permission is a leading factor for the increasing punishments. This year’s uptick in unpermitted student elevator use has caused the cluster program, which consists of students with disabilities, to change their schedule entirely. 

“We have a lot of students who use wheelchairs or that physically cannot move their legs to go up and down the stairs. We need to use the elevator all the time to go about our day,” cluster program teacher Ashley Kahn said. 

That program has 60 students, half of whom must use the elevator to transition between classes. They now transition between classes 10 minutes prior to the bell, which has impacted instructional time. 

“[The cluster program students] leave my class and then they’ll go to art class, but have to wait for the teacher to arrive for all the other kids to leave that classroom,” Kahn said. “Then [the students] are just standing there waiting for the next class. It is missed instruction time and it’s hard for some of them to just be waiting out in the hallway.”

Another factor is tardies between classes. 

“We’re seeing students who are taking their time getting to class and that loses instructional time,” Powers said. “We’re going to be putting a greater emphasis on getting to school on time and are going to address that from the beginning of the year.”

Jones’ English teacher Benjamin Dipman gets frustrated when students arrive late to his class. 

“When we returned last year, there was a shortage of bus drivers and ‘el’ drivers and also delays. I have since then been more lenient,” said Dipman, referring to tardies in his 1st and 5th period classes. He will still be strict regarding tardiness to other periods and believes administration’s new measures will encourage students to be on time to class. 

Administration also thinks the new accountability measures will encourage students to arrive at class on time and only use the elevator with permission. Some students, however, believe the severity of the punishments are unfair. 

“I don’t think detentions are necessary, because I think people will still [use the elevator],” a junior who frequently uses the elevator said (said junior requested to remain anonymous). 

She clarified that she will never use the elevator when cluster program students are present. Regardless of how the policy turns out, the Administration hopes students will hold themselves accountable.

“[Students] shouldn’t be doing the right thing because [adults are] watching. They should do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do,” Lopez said.