Study Hall Has to Fall

When most people think of a study hall, they picture well-performing students working hard on their latest project or paper for a challenging AP class. But if you walk into the average Stoughton High School study hall today, this would be very far from the case.
Last year, I took a study hall to close a gap in my schedule, and my experience couldn’t have been farther from that image of productivity.
At first, it was dozens of students packed into the MPR, too loud to work, with teachers struggling to get the rowdy class under control. When the administration split us into classrooms, it devolved into most students on their phones, sleeping, or unable to focus — yet so many students kept the study hall in their schedule anyway.
Study halls are most beneficial to high-achieving students or those overloaded with AP classes, but these usually aren’t the people who take study halls.
Students and staff often treat this class as a free-for-all, but encouraging students only to take it if they use it for work time would benefit everyone involved.
The school should make more of an effort to feature the elective options that students have so that if they’re unsure of how to fill in their schedule, they don’t immediately choose a study hall and instead consider other classes that would better serve their time and opportunities.
Study hall isn’t for everyone, and people who use it as an hour to socialize are taking valuable time and resources away from those who genuinely need it. You should only take a study hall if it will truly help you in your education.
However, there are plenty of other solutions to the issue of students not having enough free time. 2+ is an attempted solution to this problem, but that’s only 20 minutes and is often taken up by Mindfulness Monday or Digital Citizenship presentations.
Something that could work better is the return of hour-long lunches so that students have time to do homework, study, and socialize during lunch if they so choose.
School days can be draining, and the opportunity to get a free hour can seem enticing, but “study hall” has lost its meaning. It has become nothing but a chaotic or frankly useless hour, which is why study halls should only be taken by students who truly need them.


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