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‘Open campus’ sounds good in theory

It sounds good in theory. Ridgefield High School’s new open campus policy will allow students with a qualifying GPA and 90 minutes of free time to leave school and go wherever they wish-as long as they return in time for their next class. While the majority of my fellow seniors are rejoicing at this news, especially as the policy finally goes into effect at the beginning of second quarter, I am not. I firmly believe that an open campus policy is not a good idea.

I will begin by acknowledging that although I meet the GPA requirement and have enough free time to take advantage of it, I will not be applying for the program because I have neither a license nor a car. If I did have either of those things, I probably would be applying for the program, simply because it is available.

However, I still don’t entirely understand the point of having an open campus. The first problem I see with it is that Ridgefield High School is located about 15 minutes away from town and from many students’ houses. The travel time alone is prohibitive. In a 90-minute block, a student will typically spend a third of their time driving to and from their destination. This to me seems to dull some of the luster of being able to go “anywhere you want.”

But the biggest reason I think that this policy is not a smart idea is its extreme potential for accidents. Imagine several students, recently licensed, rushing to get back to school and find a parking spot in time. The potential for a collision is great in this scenario, and I don’t understand how open campus is worth this risk. Students argue that they need a place to study in place of the crowded library, but there are plenty of quiet hallways or benches within the school to sit at and get work done. Many also say that they will use open campus as an opportunity to grab lunch in place of the typically unsavory cafeteria food, but I tend to believe that the cost of eating out will soon become too great to maintain this habit.

Most of all, I think we need to remember how we survived during the previous three years, when an open campus option was not available. Somehow, we managed to do our homework in the library and relax with our friends in the student center. Now, with less than a year of high school left to go, I think we can live with a closed campus for a few months more. Some argue that open campus promotes more freedom and responsibility. But soon enough, we’ll be in college, with way more freedom than the kind that comes with being able to grab a bagel after class.

 

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  • CMcQuilken

    Smart girl.

    So this is yet another student suggesting that open campus is not a good idea. There have been several students on these forum pages who have spoken up against open campus. That’s insight form the inside point of view. I don’t think that should be taken lightly. I, and obviously many others, think it’s only a matter of time before something goes wrong.

  • christinearnold

    I don’t think RHS Seniors are different than any other 17-18 year olds. If you are thinking for one minute that they are all going out to study or get lunch you are fooling yourself.

  • http://janrifkinson.blogspot.com Jan Rifkinson

    Smart girl, no question but still one person’s opinion which I don’t take lightly.

    But I disagree. I think — as I’ve written before — that by the time a kid is a high school senior, they better have a sense of responsibility or they will fail college.

    IMO, the biggest challenge in college — besides scholastics — is self discipline. Without it, a student can easily get lost..

    Too many people, IMO, including the young lady who wrote this article, are looking at the Open Campus program as a stand alone. It is not that. It should be used as part of a process, a continuum, a controlled ramping up to a future w/o most boundaries.

    It takes training to assume those responsibilities. Better to practice them at home rather than under the watch of strangers.

  • CMcQuilken

    “…they better have a sense of responsibility or they will fail college. ”

    Is there any indication Ridgefield students are not prepared for the responsibilities of college and are failing?

    I’ve never heard this mentioned before. I’ve never seen stats suggesting this is true. Do you have a source for this information?

    If not, then opening the campus to teach responsibility is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

    The problem that does exist in RIdgefield is our young people have higher than average substance abuse issues. This has been well documented in CT State statistics, as well as anecdotally evidenced by the headlines involving fatal accidents. According to towns like Weston who have already gone down this route and are now thinking of backtracking, opening the campus will only make substance abuse problems worse.

    So what it comes down to is either open the campus to help solve a problem that doesn’t exist, or close the campus to help solve a problem that does exist.

  • Andrew

    The BoE approved it, the principal supports it, now it is up to the parents of Seniors to decide if they think their son or daughter has earned the privilege.

  • http://janrifkinson.blogspot.com Jan Rifkinson

    No, that’s not what it comes down to. That’s your opinion — which is fine. I just don’t agree with your pov & never have on this subject. I don’t have to point to stats to support everything. Sometimes it’s just a matter of common sense.

    I don’t think the school programs should be held hostage b/c more kids are doing pot. That’s a parental responsibility. Same for drinking.

    Closing down a forward thinking program b/c there are some bad apples is ass backwards IMO.

  • CMcQuilken

    “The BoE approved it, the principal supports it, now it is up to the parents of Seniors to decide if they think their son or daughter has earned the privilege.”

    So should this well spoken young lady be ignored? Should we never offer up a differing opinion once elected officials have made a decision? If America had followed that path, all of our slaves would be speaking German.

  • Andrew

    “So should this well spoken young lady be ignored? Should we never offer up a differing opinion once elected officials have made a decision? If America had followed that path, all of our slaves would be speaking German.’

    Should the well spoken students who advocated for this policy changed be ignored?

    I haven’t ignored her opinion we took that into consideration when we, his parents, made the decision on whether or not we were going allow our him to participate.

    No one is saying that people should not offer up opinion, there was plenty of opinion offered up to the BoE, and they based upon this, and other information rendered a decision. I guess if don’t agree with the open campus policy, you can convince the BoE to change their minds, or convince parents not to allow their children to participate.

  • Secondhand Rose

    Ms. Bradley points out “But the biggest reason I think that this policy is not a smart idea is its extreme potential for accidents. Imagine several students, recently licensed, rushing to get back to school and find a parking spot in time. The potential for a collision is great in this scenario, and I don’t understand how open campus is worth this risk. ”

    Which is exactly the same point I made several months ago when this subject first came up.

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