The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

The Voice

The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

The Voice

The student news site of Terra Linda High School.

Minga Controversy

Photo of: Johnny Azor

As the 2023-2024 school year begins, Terra Linda High has introduced a new protocol called “Minga” along with it. According to the Minga website, the new advancement is an “easy-to-use campus management platform redefining the campus experience for modern K12 schools.” At Terra Linda, only two of the three features are being used; the Digital IDs and Tutorial which is now known as Flex time. Within your digital IDs, you can see your hall passes, dance tickets, ASB stickers, and can also act as a form of ID for student discounts. The Flex time feature will be used as tutorial sign-ins, instead of the paper sheet that students utilized in the past. During flex time, each teacher will be given five empty slots for students to sign into, although if needed, teachers can increase the number of spots in their classroom. This new addition to the school year has caused a lot of controversy between teachers, administration, and students.

Before Minga, there were other attempts to help reduce tardiness and bathroom usage. This included tardy letters that were sent out to students, as well as tardy sweeps, where admin goes around campus to help students get to class on time. But with Minga, the administration feels there are some benefits to this program that students should consider. Principal Katy Dunlap states, “Our goal with Minga is to improve student participation and engagement. Now, students know they have to be in class, and can’t leave with just raising a hand every period.” According to the administration, some students tend to use the bathroom every single period every day, for over 30 minutes every time, causing students to lose valuable class time. Dunlap adds, “No matter what, there should be an increase in student achievement, when students are in class, engaged, and participating they are learning compared to wandering around.”  Since Minga has been at TL, there has been a vast reduction in the amount of tardiness. According to Assistant Principal MariaTinnel, there has been a 20% reduction in tardies during 4th period, a 22% reduction in 5th period, a 26% reduction during 6th period, and a 49% reduction for 7th period. 

This program is also put in place to help teachers. According to Assistant Principal Maria Tinnel “Teachers and parents have shared overwhelmingly positive reviews…the hallways are quiet and students are mindful of hall pass usage and timing.” Another reason this has been useful for teachers is for easier class and student management. AVID 9 and Ethnic Studies teacher, Oscar Gomez, adds “I like Minga for many reasons because it holds students accountable, especially for the frequent bathroom users, and also makes it easy to track who’s in and out of class.” 

Additionally, this program ensures that Admin is able to view bathroom usage from different classes. This will allow Admin to see how many students want to leave a teacher’s classroom to go to the bathroom. If Admin sees that multiple students want to leave a certain class, it can motion to start a conversation with that teacher on ways to improve engagement in the class. 

Another reason TL has decided to use this program is for easy access to dance tickets, which will allow students a smoother and faster entrance into a school-organized dance, instead of waiting in line to find your name on a list. “We want to increase attendance at school events and make the check-in process more efficient. “I don’t want students waiting in line for an hour so their name can be found, after paying $20 bucks for a ticket. Minga will now allow us to see IDs just from viewing their phones.” Dunlap adds. At the most recent dance, Blacklight, which acted as the pilot for the quick sign-in,  there were 110 students who used Minga with their digital IDs. 

A significant aspect of Minga that worries the student body is the bathroom and hall pass feature. The digital ID concept of Minga requires students to make hall passes to go to the bathroom or have their teacher make one for them. A teacher must approve your pass, and once it’s been created, your six-minute timer to use the restroom begins. If you’re not back in class within that time frame, all of the admin, security, and your teacher will see that. Many students believe that this rule should be dismissed. Senior, Shayla Foley states, “Bathroom breaks should be a place for individuals to be relaxed and alone, not rushed and watched, especially with how stressful school is, and with 90-minute periods, students need breaks.” These negative opinions towards Minga seem to be a common theme among the student body, Sophomore Addie Marsh adds, “It’s an invasion of privacy because those of us who aren’t abusing the right to go to the bathroom have been affected by this unjustly.” Another 11th grader, Sadie Jordan, adds, “I think the time is too short, and the amount of times you can go to the bathroom is too little. There are ways to make it better, even just having one pass in the morning and one in the afternoon would make it a lot better.” The outrage has led to a student petition, created by 11th grader, Makai Jensen. “My goal with the petition is to get students to recognize that this policy is not good, and it’s not beneficial to the students or anyone else. It’s a good way to get rid of a system that’s not beneficial to us,” Jensen states.

The student body’s hope with this petition is to come to an agreement with Terra Linda to come together and find a better solution with the abolishment of the Minga platform. In response to this, Dunlap adds, “We need to give a little bit of time and adjust to it, and then I need to hear from kids how to meet in the middle…if we see a reduction in 25% or whatever measure we come up with that we need to get to, and we don’t need to have a program like this, that is absolutely something we’d look into.”

All in all, it looks like for this 2023-2024 school year, Minga is here to stay, whether we want to embrace it or not. But hopefully, the TLHS community can come together and find a way to make things suitable for all!

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