The Orbit

The Student News Site of Reading Memorial High School

The Orbit

The Orbit


Which statement best describes your feelings about the return of midyear exams?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

Senior Privilege Expanded

Semester Two Brings Changes
Nicole Torello (’24)

Administrators have expanded “senior privilege” for their second semester to give twelfth-graders more freedom and responsibility after originally taking some privileges away at the start of the 2023-2024 school year.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, seniors were only allowed to leave campus during their first and last-period studies. Since returning to school after the pandemic in the 2021-2022 school year, seniors had previously been able to leave for all studies, lunch, and flex. An assembly was held on the first day of the present school year where the news was dropped by the new principal, Ms. Callanan, that senior privilege would be changing once again. Many students were upset to find out that senior privilege was resorting back to the pre-COVID rules. 

New Semester, New Rules

Administrators seemed to hear some of the students’ opinions because, in an email sent out by Ms. Theriault on January 11, new conditions for senior privilege were described. The first change that affected the entire school was the fact that all studies would be held in the cafeteria for the first four weeks of the semester.  This was due primarily to the school’s four-week test run of a possible future schedule.  However, seniors were given the exclusive privilege to leave the cafeteria and go to Main St or the Library if the study was not during the first or last period of the day. If their study was during the first or the last period of the school day, they would still be allowed to come in late or leave early if approved for senior privilege.

The most important change with these new conditions was the fact that seniors could now leave during flex starting January 30. This was a huge break for seniors because not all of them are lucky enough to have a first or last-period study. This meant that until this change was implemented, a lot of seniors didn’t get to feel the full effect of their senior privilege. This also meant that seniors wouldn’t only be responsible for coming into school a period late or leaving a period early, but would now be responsible for leaving and coming back to school within a single period.

Why is there concern at all?

A major concern of the administrators enforcing these senior privilege rules was student safety. Principal Callanan explained her concerns and mindset regarding her new rule implementation and said, “My biggest concern was really around safety and  when the ladies in the main office are trying to keep track of attendance, which we have to report every day, we are having trouble keeping track of whose coming in and out of the buildings. A lot of the doors are being propped and things like that so that was my concern and from a teacher perspective.” 

Assistant Principal Theriault spoke to many of the same ideals on safety that Principal Callanan touched on. “I understood the anger expressed by the senior class toward my colleagues, but student safety is the number one thing we have to take into consideration when we bring up the idea of students leaving the building throughout the day.” She then went on to explain what the aftermath of this decision looked like. “Obviously we had many complaints from students within the senior class.  We had the school government and council constantly calling for meetings with us and trying to negotiate with us.” When asked about the impact of student voices on the issue, Callanan said, “I think it’s going to help a lot in the future with classes.”

Due to the loose format of the post-COVID senior privilege guidelines, students of all grades were sneakily taking advantage of the perks. An unanticipated outcome of the relaxed privilege rules was increased delinquency and the absence of younger students, previously unnoticed due to mass herds of students leaving school unaccounted for. 

What about next year?  

Many senior students have had differing opinions on the revoking of senior privilege this school year. Myles Lakin (‘24) said, “I felt it was kind of abrupt because we were all expecting it [senior privilege], and it’s been the hype for the last four years.” In addition to senior students’ opinions, some junior students also have strong opinions on the changes made to senior privilege. When asked about what she predicts senior privilege will look like next year, Em Koster (‘25) said, “We’ll have some. A and G block and Flex but that’s probably it.” When asked the same question, another current junior, Quinn Synnott added, “I believe that if the seniors do ok with [the current senior privilege] this year then Mrs. Callanan will be ok with having it again for us next year.”

It is currently unknown what senior privilege will look like for the Class of 2025, but the juniors seem to be hopeful for their senior year.

Although senior privilege has dwindled overall this year, the new semester promises more freedom and opportunity for seniors to be excused from the building for the remainder of the 2023-2024 school year.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Orbit Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *