Parents now needed for pickup

Change in policy mandates parents to be present for students to leave the building


Students have started to express frustration this year after Jones has begun to enforce stricter CPS rules regarding allowing students to leave campus during school hours. 

Last year, the requirements for leaving the building were much more flexible, allowing students to go to appointments and leave more easily. These rules have now changed which has resulted in some student pushback, some are upset and hope to gain back their independence

“Last year, the policy was that you were able to fill out a Google Form in advance so the parents had one less thing to do,” said Jones Assistant Principal Yvette Torres. “But, by CPS policy, the parent has to come in when it’s someone who is under the age of 18 and actually has to sign a document.”

Due to the prior leniency at Jones, students leaving the building without a guardian happened frequently last year, something Torres thinks is unique compared to other schools. 

“I’ve noticed [students leaving] happening a lot last year, which I was surprised at,” said Torres. “At my previous schools that I’ve worked at as a teacher, it was always required that a parent had to come and get you, so I was surprised that Jones wasn’t doing that.”

The policy is in place because the school is held liable for students whether they are  in the building or not.

“The sign in sheets that we have, those are actual legal documents. So, in the event anything were to happen and there was no parent signature… even if the parent may have known, that can become problematic,” said Torres. 

Jones cannot disregard CPS policy, even with parental consent. 

“In the event it’s ever needed, we have documentation to back up that we’re doing what CPS policy requires us to do,” stated Torres. “I can’t let [students] go because if something happens in the interim of them getting from point A to point B, [Jones] can be held liable and I don’t want that.”

It can be difficult for administration to satisfy the needs of CPS and Jones students at the same time. 

“It’s tough to find this middleground where we are still accountable and appeasing CPS, while at the same time trying not to create more roadblocks or obstacles for students and families,” said Michal Michniowski, a science teacher at Jones.

Some students believe that the school’s new strictness is unnecessary.

“I also think that an email prior or a signed note would suffice. If the student is leaving the school and has to go somewhere by themselves, it is inconvenient to have a parent come pick them up,” said Chu. 

Teachers can understand and sympathize with students’ reaction to the change. 

“From a student standpoint I can understand their frustration and realize that this might be more problematic,” said Michniowski. “This is an added obstacle to do something like healthcare or whatever [students’] responsibilities are.”

Another point of frustration for students revolves around a desire for more freedom.

“We’re in high school now, most people take public transportation to school anyway, ” said Chu. “Being in high school is about becoming independent, so having a buddy system with parents coming in is not helpful.”

Policies such as these speak to a larger change in the atmosphere at Jones. 

“We were being conscientious, we were being gracious in a lot of areas last year. Now that we are back to life we want to recommit to the standard Jones expectations,” said Torres. “I know for [students] it’s a change. Just understand that as we move forward, certain expectations are in order to have everything run smoothly.”