A Bell Free School
As the end of the year approaches, Terra Linda experiences more sunlight, less rain, and of course, AP testing. And without AP testing, one thing is absent from our school: the bells.
Terra Linda removes the bells that mark the beginning and end of each period during the two weeks of May 6-17 in order to not disturb students who take AP tests, which are notoriously difficult and require concentration that the bells may stifle. But two weeks of AP testing have come and gone, and the bells mysteriously haven’t returned. Presumably, the bells have been eliminated for an additional week in order to accommodate those who are taking late AP tests.
So, while the vast majority of students have gone about their daily classes, the bells have been noticeably absent. Senior Elisa Correa says, “It’s really nice to not have bells. I never noticed how obnoxious they are until they were removed. I feel more at ease without them.”
Correa’s positive sentiments of a bell free school are shared with not only other students within Terra Linda, but also around the country. Schools like American Canyon High School in Napa, and Rancho Mirage High School in Palm Springs. Schools around the country are starting to adopt bell-free policies, which staff, faculty, and students alike support. A common praise of the policy is that teachers get to finish their sentences instead of a bell interrupting, and that fewer students are tardy because they go to their next class instead of waiting for a warning bell to dismiss them.
“The bells should be removed because they suck. I hate the bells,” asserts senior Shannon Mayo. “I hate having to listen to that B4 [the musical note of the bell] everyday. They’re so annoying, you know? They give me headaches, and I get chronic migraines. It’s also harder to be tardy when there are no bells, and it’s more realistic because there aren’t any bells in college. And also, I just think they suck.” Indeed, the bells do cause issues for people who may have illnesses or sensitivities triggered by loud noises, in addition to the general feeling of anxiety and worry that many associate with the bells.
Of course, there may be a few detriments to the bell-free policy. Some parents of bell-free schools claim that the policy discriminates against students who don’t have cell phones or watches. This can be combated by equipping every classroom with a clock, which most already have. Furthermore, some students in bell-free zones report being unfairly marked tardy without the bells to set an unbiased standard for what constitutes lateness.
Despite some of the issues associated with a bell free campus, the majority of students tend to support the idea of class without bells. Junior Romisa Shakeriniasar may have a way to make this happen. She’s currently the junior class VP and the board rep for next year, meaning that she can introduce the idea of a bell free campus to the board. “I’m always thinking about how to change the school, and how to keep it updated for the students, too. I’m always thinking about bettering the place, and the bells have always caused me anxiety and stress that I’ve never thought about before.” In surveying both students and teachers, she’s realized that her feelings towards the bells are common. Students feel anxious and worried, while teachers feel disrespected and ignored when students forget that they dismiss the class, not the bell. Without bells, students learn time management and independence, as well as respect.
Shakeriniasar had a meeting with assistant principal Rob Celli, who supports the idea. “[Mr. Celli] said that every year during AP testing, the bells stop and students like it so much that they try to make it a permanent change, but it hasn’t happened up to now. But he believes that I can help implement this policy and we can actually change it this time.” She is taking a survey on the Terra Linda website which she hopes to present to the board in order to advocate for a bell free campus.
To voice your opinion for either a bell free or bell inclusive school environment, talk to Romisa Shakeriniasar, stop by room 307 and speak with Ms. Leonhart, or go to the Terra Linda website and vote for whether you support the bells or not.