E-Hallpass: An Invasion of Privacy?

With the introduction of E-Hall passes, students weigh in their opinions on this new system.

E-Hallpass: An Invasion of Privacy?

By Laila Ali

During the 2019-2020 school year, new software was introduced to Heritage High school: the E-Hall pass. Originally, it gained huge backlash, and a Heritage senior named Christian Chase even created a petition in hopes of banning it. By the 2021-2022 school year, every school in Loudoun, including some in neighboring counties, began using this new tech-oriented pass. For those who are unfamiliar, E-Hall pass is a digital pass that is used to track how long students visit the bathroom, nurse’s office, another classroom, etc. It also keeps a record of all of their previous visits so administrators can look back at the data if needed.

You would assume that most students would automatically hate the idea of being tracked the entire school day, but that surprisingly isn’t the case. I asked 12 students, ranging from grades 7-10 if they thought that the new pass was an invasion of privacy.Twenty-five percent of the students polled disagreed and voted no, one of them being an LCPS Sophomore, who asked to remain anonymous: “Since we should be in class, it’s not really infringing on our privacy if they know we’re in the bathroom or whatever. Also, if we get early dismissal, they would know where to get us from if we’re not in the room, which is helpful.” A Manassas Park middle schooler had a similar take. “It honestly doesn’t invade anything because you tell your teachers if you’re going to the bathroom anyway. This just helps them keep track.”

However, 33% of the students felt that E-Hall pass was invasive. “It’s weird to be tracked just because you’re using the bathroom excessively,” explained one FCPS Freshman. Some extra features are also disliked by a few of the students, such as Zak O, an MPCS Seventh grader. He pointed out the “Hallway traffic” feature, which prevents students from leaving their class if the hallway capacity has been reached. “Why shouldn’t I be able to use the bathroom just because one kid is already in there? There’s no point of having multiple stalls and urinals if only one person is allowed to be there at a time.”

Surprisingly, 41.7% of students had a neutral viewpoint. One Tusky Sophomore explained that although the pass

 isn’t breaking any boundaries, it’s unneeded and there could be other alternatives. “I don’t think that e-hall pass is an invasion of privacy, but it’s just unnecessary. When I need to use the restroom I have to either interrupt the class or walk up to the teacher’s desk to get my pass approved. And when I come back the teacher often doesn’t notice or simply forgets to stop the pass.”  They also added that if a teacher wanted to know where their students were, they could always just use a paper sign-in sheet. 

Writing this article and questioning the student body has changed my stance on this argument. I originally believed that E-Hall pass was indeed very invasive, but now I think it’s nothing more than a huge inconvenience. In reality, we live in a technology-driven world. Google, Instagram, Tiktok, Twitter, and any online website that you visit have your personal information. Even though E-Hall pass is annoying to use the data it collects is nothing compared to                                                                                                                the ones that most social media apps collect.