Described as a procedure that will keep students engaged in the classroom, Piedra Vista High School’s “Punch Pass” aims to keep restroom privileges to a minimum and not an abuse of privilege, according to a Jan. 9 email sent to parents and faculty.
The email sent to parents said in the fall semester, administrators observed students misuse a hall pass to vape, meet friends or wander halls.
Students may also use the pass to utilize other needs throughout the day, such as visiting the main office and library.
“This process provides opportunities for students with real needs to utilize the facilities safely,” the email said.
Aside from the punch pass procedure, “Request for Support” is another procedure that students use to contact support staff throughout the day. That pass is provided by support staff.
Before a student can use their Panther Pass, they must complete a Google form. Teachers at PV already utilize a system that involves three passes a quarter.
Administration multiplied their class load, typically seven, by this number and came up with the 20 punches.
“Please remember that students have passing periods 6 times per day to utilize facilities and attend to other needs,” the email said,” They also have 40 minutes during lunch time.”
If a student uses up their punches, they will be referred to administration. Students with a 504 plan or an Individualized Health Plan will be accommodated by teachers, the email said.
Tesia McCarty is the mother of a senior at PV who participates in athletics.
McCarty said her son consumes plenty of water during the school day and has told a teacher that they can meet him at the bathroom if they need to approve his pass.
While in class, the students were told the Panther Pass was a procedure to curb vaping and loitering, rather than to limit restroom privileges.
If the issue is vaping and marijuana use in the restrooms, the administration should be focusing their energy on the monitoring of those locations, McCarty said.
“The punch card is not fair to those not abusing those privileges,” she said.
Substance abuse begins at a much earlier age than high school, McCarty said. If Farmington Municipal Schools want to decrease the use of vape and marijuana, the prevention should start at middle schools or elementary schools.
“They are taking elementary tactics and applying it to young adults,” she said.
Teachers are also placed in an uncomfortable situation. Some students may not have the time to go between passing periods if their previous classroom is farther away from their next.
McCarty also brought up a situation in which a student may need to use the restroom more frequently because of menstrual needs.
Jaime Voita, who has a senior and sophomore at PV, said the problem is that students are bored in classrooms.
If students do not having anything to do in class, they are going to find something to do, she said.
According to the 2023 NMVistas report, Piedra Vista scored a 63% in regular attendance.
Within the classroom, there is a reliance on technology, and Voita said her kids have few or no teachers that have real connections with them.
Voita said her kids are seeing vape use in other places than the restrooms – it’s in the hallways, student parking lots and the classrooms.
The addiction and mental health tied to the vape and marijuana use should also be addressed but it’s not, she said.
Voita is concerned the procedure will be enforced with some students and not with others.
With a procedure like this, Voita said there are bound to be students who will disregard the pass, abide by it, not ask for restroom permission or share passes.
“Further suppressing kids’ ability to feel independence, it’s just going to make them hate school more,” she said.
Principal Kelly Thur declined an interview with Tri-City Record regarding the new procedure.
Farmington Municipal Schools administrators also declined an interview with Tri-City Record.