High school seniors get early privileges this year

A change has been made to a long-standing practice at Wilton High School this year — Senior Privilege, which allows seniors to leave and enter campus during lunch blocks.

In all his 11 years at Wilton High School, Principal Robert O’Donnell said, Senior Privilege has been a second-semester privilege, but this year, seniors were able to use the privilege after the first quarter.

Mr. O’Donnell said that with the help and input of the student government, he decided to allow seniors to go out one quarter early this year, and he identified two main “drivers” of that decision.

“I think the students deserve that level of privilege and trust, and secondly, so many of our seniors go out for senior internships right after the AP exams in mid-May and wouldn’t have as much time to take advantage of the privilege,” he said, “This gives them a little bit more time to actually experience the Senior Privilege.”

Of the high school’s 326 seniors this year, 197 are taking advantage of the Senior Privilege, which Mr. O’Donnell said essentially boils down to trust.

“It’s based on the philosophy that the students have developed and demonstrated that they deserve a privilege and that we can trust them,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“I think that most of our students, based on my experience, deserve that level of trust and freedom their senior year.”

Rules and requirements

In order to take advantage of the privilege, a senior must have a 2.5 cumulative GPA, no credit loss for the first quarter and a clear discipline record — all of which he or she must maintain to continue participating in the privilege.

Before a student may participate, he or she must also have a responsibility waiver and permission slip signed by a parent in the presence of a school staff member or witnessed by a notary.

By signing the slip, parents not only give their son or daughter permission to participate but also relieve the Board of Education and all of its employees from “any liability in the case of accident or injury” to their child while participating in the privilege.

A parent or administrator may revoke a student’s Senior Privilege at any time, and if a student returns late after leaving campus, he or she loses the privilege.

“I like to believe that our students are largely responsible, and if we find out that a student abuses the privilege, it can always be revoked, and if we feel it’s being abused on a larger scale, it can be revoked en masse,” said Mr. O’Donnell.

“However, we are not experiencing a lot of difficulties with the Senior Privilege. I think the seniors are, frankly, good students and good kids and they’re responsible.”