After Thanksgiving break, the halls at Holliston High School went silent when administration eliminated lunch bells and announcements in between periods due to student survey responses and the opinions of teachers and administration.
The announcements, which were meant to be heard by all students to inform them who was too report to the main office and guidance office, were not effective according to assistant principal Mr. Patrick Kelley who said, “Students were reporting to their called destination less than 50% of the time,” adding “Let’s not keeping doing it if it is not working.”
English teacher Mr. Timothy Bailey was pushing for no more announcements in the hallways for a long time.
“The announcements in the hallways seemed less than ideal because the hallways were so loud and no one was hearing them,” said Mr. Bailey, “If you are going to have a message for the students they should be able to hear it,” he added.
Freshman Caroline Campbell said in an email interview, “The announcements were pointless; we couldn’t hear them. It also made many people ignore all of the other announcements which is bad if there was an actual emergency.”
Unlike the announcements which were between classes, the bells were causing interruptions during class according to Mr. Kelley who said, “We felt like there was so many interruptions to learning that was taking place in the classroom and that so many of the bells were, in actuality, unnecessary.”
Silencing the halls has proved an unobtrusive switch in the school.
“I don’t see any big evidence of a change, which is a good sign, right? We did it pretty smoothly,” said Mr. Bailey who has been hearing the bells for 13 years.
Another idea is to replace the bells with music in the hallways.
“There is a student proposal that we are trying to make work to change it from bells to music during the transition time,” said Mr. Kelley.
Holliston got the idea from a neighboring public school which Mr. Kelley said “Is something they do over in Medfield and their vice principal acts as a dj,” adding, “It is more of a relaxing experience than harsh bells.”
“Keep applying the critical thinking skills to it until it is working as best as possible for the largest group of people. That is the most valuable thing that we do in this building, to model and teach critical thinking and problem solving. The bells are an example of a problem that can be solved,” said Mr. Bailey.
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