January 1971

Trend toward 'open campus' liked and disliked
no author

   Evidence that Maine South students are seeking more freedom can be found in the already-acquired lounge privilege for juniors and seniors and in the Student Council's recent request, though denied, for "discussion areas" for all students. The ultimate goal is open campus, either total or limited, already a fact in many high schools.
    Ted, Student Council president, favoring adoption of the open campus plan, mentioned Elk Grove, Evanston, New Trier West, and Niles East as nearby schools having some form of campus freedom. Even Maine East, says Ted, offers lounge privileges for all students, discussion areas, and a library large enough to make study halls superfluous.
   According to John '71, open campus is an accepted development all over the country. As examples, he mentioned the limited open campus of the newly-opened Maine North and the freedom of no hall passes or study hall attendance check at Hersey High School, Arlington Heights.
    Pat, Student Council Secretary, commented that open campus is a definite need in high schools and "should have been introduced ten years ago." Mentioning that students with nothing to do and no place to go merely sleep in study hall, she compared the school's handling of student groups to a flight pattern--hold and then shuffle from one place to another.
    Like Pat, Kathryn '71 feels that open campus would teach students responsibility by actually placing the choice of activity upon them.
    Mr. Skinner also views open campus as a means of learning responsibility. "Open campus seems to mean many things. But if properly introduced and explained, it seems to help a person realize that he is ultimately responsible for his education--and for himself generally--Isn't the individual's responsibility for himself a major premise of democracy?"
    Mr. Banks, English III teacher, is another supporter of more freedom for the Maine South student. "I support a freer campus environment than the one we presently learn and work under. Students of high school age need the opportunity to choose study times, group discussion experiences and relaxation periods for themselves. To say to a high school student, 'You must study from 1:25 to 2 each day' when alternative actions are available seems counterproductive to the aims of a school system which honors self-discipline."
    Jill '74 however, recommends the use of some check system. "Otherwise, she said, "too many kids would cut too many classes and we'd have no privileges at all."
    Rick '72, noting that his need to study makes the program inapplicable to him, commented that a forty-minute period is too short to go anywhere off campus.
    Mr. Simonson, assistant principal of students, also named problems that make open campus impractical for Maine South. Citing the problems of responsibility for minors, heavy traffic within and outside the building, disruption of classes, and a setting not conducive to the plan--no music, food, or large urban area-- he judged total open campus not at all probable in the foreseeable future.
    Miss Iliff, Dean of Girls, gave the example of The Nova, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where students, though not allowed to leave the building, are given the option of attending or not attending study halls. She noted, however, that freshmen and sophomores, too immature to consider the future seriously, tended to neglect school work. From this example, Miss Iliff's concern is that this problem might very well exist here.
    The same idea was expressed at a recent caucus meeting by Mr. Gahala, nominee for the District 207 Board of Education. "It's my judgment that students are not mature enough to allocate their time."
    Another nominee, Mr. Bocek, when asked his opinion of open campus expressed a doubt that it was manageable, but added "If administration could convince me that it could guarantee control, then I would approve."
    The most negative attitude was voiced by Mr. Pope, "I think it would be utter chaos."