What the bell is going on?


Credit: Eki Uzamere

The lack of bells bookending classes caused controversy throughout the student body.

If you are one of the many who had been frantic last week, scurrying to class, lost without the helpful ding of school bells, you’re in luck. According to the upper school Director, Andy King, the bells are back to stay. 

Mr. King says he “left it in the hands of [our] teachers.” The teachers weren’t happy without the bells and there was a consensus among them that bells are necessary. 

Last week, Mr. King emailed our teachers “a one-liner survey,” where they voted and decided the fate of the bells. Based on The Dial’s reporting, the outcome of this survey is in favor of the bells to stay permanently. 

“I miss[ed] them,” upper school math teacher, Peter Ruocco said, “especially when I’m grading tests, I just keep plowing through,” he added, speaking of working into and missing class time. 

“It was an oversight on my part,”  Mr. King said of the bells in explaining their short absence. The bells were turned off this summer to accommodate the families on campus and faculty on staff, as well as students enrolled in summer courses, and left off in September. Call it an experiment, or an anticipated change of pace, but everyone seems to hate it.

Most agree that the absence of a bell encourages teachers to drone on, and creates more general tardiness. Without bells, the upper school is unregulated. “It [felt] like one big class,”  Riley DeMatteo said with a tone of disgust. 

Although there were also some positives to a school day designed as “one big class.” The lack of bells mimicked a relaxed college environment with everyone doing their own thing, at their own pace; it set up an environment of trust between students and teachers, and it gave students personal responsibility for their education. Maybe there is a method to the madness. After all, the middle school has been operating without bells for roughly 10 years. 

The changes were most dramatic in the classrooms with speakers directly overhead. Ms. Kaplan who was also worried that she was “going to miss [classes],” didn’t miss that “horrible noise.” 

For Mr. King,  it was actually quite calming, as he didn’t have to worry about the shrill, piercing cry of 6 bells ringing irritatingly loud during a 5th-period phone call. 

With the results are in, and it seems as if the bells are here to stay. While the last two weeks of quiet may have provided a change of pace and a more subtle transition back into the school year, the bells return and with them the clear message awareness and attention expected of students and teachers alike.