Backpacks in the Cubbies, and other Controversial Rules

Andrea Colon, Journalist

Have you ever wanted to wear leggings on a casual day because jeans are too hot, uncomfortable or just not stretchy enough? Or shown up to school late just to realize you forgot a signed excuse? Or have you ever gone to snack, left your backpack next to the cubbies (because let’s be real here, sometimes it’s just a little too hard to cram your giant backpack into the tiny cube), and returned to nothing? Regardless if it’s the dress code, tardiness, backpack placement, or any other inconvenience, we’ve all been there.

The Dress Code

Whether we like it or not, these rules are in place for a reason. Even though sometimes we may ask ourselves: Why is Ortiz so strict? We also have to understand, he doesn’t make the rules, he enforces them. In an interview with the one and only Saint John’s School Dean of Student Life, I found out he doesn’t really have an opinion on a lot of the rules that we complain about daily. When I asked him about the importance of having a dress code, he said, “I don’t have an opinion on the uniform; I only have a responsibility to make sure the students follow the guidelines as they are stated in the student body handbook.”

Wearing leggings has been a battle a lot of Saint John’s girls have been struggling to fight for a while. But for all the girls who have been waiting for the chance to break free from the constricting uncomfortable nature of  jeans, you’re in luck! Ortiz said, “Through the efforts in the student council, we are working on changing that rule, and we are currently in the process of revising the language of the dress code in the student handbook.” 

When You’re Late

Whether your siblings just wouldn’t wake up, your parents wouldn’t hurry up, or you got stuck in traffic, it’s most likely you’ve gotten to school just a few minutes after the clock struck 8:20. Although some have been lucky enough to sneak past Ortiz and not get caught, there have been others who unfortunately have not had that lucky break. The handbook states that, “If a student is late to school and does not bring a written excuse, he or she will not be allowed to enter the class that is in session and will have to wait until the next class begins.”


— Mr. Ortiz

I asked Ortiz what students could do if it wasn’t their fault, but they didn’t have an excuse and he said, “Not much unfortunately. Sometimes I allow students to go to classes without excuses. If I know that it wasn’t under their control, I would let them go. When it becomes a pattern, I have to enforce what’s stated in the handbook, and ask students not go to their first block class. I’m making the parents responsible because 7-10 graders don’t drive.”


The backpacks go in the cubbies. But my backpack doesn’t fit! Does this conversation seem familiar to you? This year Ortiz started telling students to put the backpacks in the cubbies, and if not, they would be taken. Some students did not take this statement seriously, and proceeded to leave their backpacks in front of the cubbies, while they went to get their food; only to return to a backpack free floor.“There’s going to be a consequence. It’s humanly impossible for me to be in 20 places at the same time. If I tell you 2-3 times that the backpacks go in a specific place, it’s for safety. I would hope that students would cooperate. On the other hand, I do feel horrible for taking a student’s backpack. But there are rules for a reason.” When snack ends after the shortest 20 minutes ever, we all rush over to our backpacks to then struggle going up the over-crowded stairs filled with students pushing and shoving to make it on time to class. The backpack rule is being enforced to avoid tripping over them while trying to get to class.