Mr. Hagerty’s hall pass: keeping students safe and keeping itself clean

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Who knew hall passes could play such a big role in determining one’s reputation? For classical language teacher George Hagerty, the unique process of granting students permission to leave the classroom has become a defining characteristic of his educational personality.

Unlike most teachers at Townsend, Mr. Hagerty feels that a physical hall pass is the most effective way of keeping track of students who may have left the room. “Desk logs create a distraction,” he said. “I find them to be ineffective and not consistently used. This has been a way for me to develop a consistent method to always know that there is one person out at any given time, for any given reason.”

Another reason why Mr. Hagerty keeps the pass around his neck is because it serves as a memory mechanism, reminding him that a student is out of the room. “It’s very important for me to remember that there is a student out, and the action of handing a student the pass creates the memory for me,” he said. It also allows him to keep more than one student from leaving the class at a time and indicates a student’s absence during a fire drill or lockdown.

Regardless of Mr. Hagerty’s reason for using the hall pass, his students can agree that it brings a lighthearted vibe to his classes.

“When someone asks to go to the bathroom, Mr. Hagerty gives the pass that he has fixed around his neck by putting it on his fingers and stretching his arm out in a [peculiar] manner,” explained sophomore Tasnimul Taher. “It’s very funny, and he holds it very dear to his heart.”

“The way Mr. Hagerty gives his bathroom pass [to students] is quite humorous,” sophomore Jennifer Mendez said in agreement. “He is very protective of it and is super dramatic when handing it over.”

Used by all five of Mr. Hagerty’s classes, the hall pass ensures student safety and accountability. While doing this, however, its countless trips to and from the restroom everyday may cause students to wonder: how many germs is it collecting during these trips?

Junior Lynn Kemelman said, “In the beginning of the year, I always wondered if he realized how many germs were on that pass until I found out he actually cleans it. Of all the things he is very cautious of, I would think that the germs on that hall pass would be one of his top concerns.”

Mr. Hagerty cleans his hall pass at the end of each day with detergent and lysol disinfecting wipes, which kill 99.99% of germs. To do so, he follows these steps: “bunch it all up into your hand, pour [detergent] on, squeeze it, get the suds, mix it up (because you don’t know where this thing has been), wet it, wring it out, and repeat until there’s no more suds.”

Even before hearing about Mr. Hagerty’s method of cleaning the pass, sophomore Daniel Shi explained that he wasn’t worried about the germs: “I trust that everyone in high school is mature enough to wash their hands.”

After the hard work that goes into cleaning his hall pass, Mr. Hagerty moves on to the last step: “hang it up to dry, and tomorrow it’ll smell like clean laundry again.”