Illustration by Lily Condron
Kettering Fairmont High School rests peacefully on Shroyer Road in Kettering, Ohio, and from the outside, it looks fine. But looks can be deceiving. Inside, it’s a combat zone, and it’s every man for himself.
Seeing as Fairmont students live in a world full of puppy love, sketchy water fountains and backpacks that weigh more than they do, it makes sense that the trek through the high school halls is no easy task. Juniors and seniors plow their way through Central Unit, while freshmen and sophomores cling to the walls in terror. Or, better yet, underclassmen stop directly in the middle of the Central-East connector, forcing dozens of irritated upperclassmen to “accidentally” shove them into locker bays as they make their way to class.
Often times, these underclassmen have simply not yet mastered the “Ten Commandments” of hallway etiquette. How could they? They’re still fairly new to the Fairmont environment. But their amateur behaviors don’t let the upperclassmen who have fallen back into these habits off the hook. No, seniority doesn’t mean a thing when it comes to hallway etiquette.
All who are guilty, please rise, as we present the 10 Commandments of Fairmont Hallway Etiquette.
Thou shalt not walk at a pace that is less than satisfactory.
This Commandment comes first, as it is, first and foremost, one of the most important unspoken rules of hallway etiquette.
Texting in the halls is fine. Studying for a vocabulary test is also fine. But if these things cannot be done while walking at a reasonable pace, forget it. Put it away. Just wait for a few minutes until the hallway is clear and no one is being inconvenienced. That text can wait 10 more seconds.
Thou shalt not publicly display affection in areas of traffic. Actually, it would be better to not publicly display affection at all. Nobody wants to see that.
There is nothing more obnoxious than going to open your locker, but being unable to do so because a young couple is claiming your space as theirs. Unfortunately for you, they’re marking your territory in a way that scars you for life and makes you wonder what they do when they’re alone. High school couples aren’t always PG, to say the least.
Senior Mila Wiedeman takes this frustration a step further, considering it a definite hallway no-no. “Don’t make out in the hallways, especially when you’re trying to see how far you can stick your tongue down someone’s throat.” said Wiedeman. “It’s honestly just disgusting.”
If you’re going to declare your boyfriend or girlfriend as your one true love, go for it. But don’t force the entire school to see it on their way to fourth period.
Thou shalt not walk more than two people wide, as it blocks the entire flow of traffic and makes others have a burning desire to destroy all guilty parties.
It’s always fun to see your friends, sure. But do you really all need to walk through the same hallway at the same time?
Fairmont English teacher Patricia Taylor notices this occurrence several times a day from the door outside her classroom in Central Unit. “My biggest pet peeve is students blocking hallways,” Taylor said. “They need to step aside and let traffic flow.”
The easiest way to let traffic flow is to walk in twos, maybe threes if it is manageable. More than anything, though, look around and see if people are struggling to get ahead of you and your friends. If they are, it’s usually a good indication that you’re blocking the halls.
Thou shalt not attempt to cram 17 people through one door when there is another perfectly usable, easily accessible door directly next to it.
This might be the most frustrating situation to date. Just envision the doors to the courtyard, and how fantastic it feels when both doors are being utilized to their fullest potential. Now pinch yourself, because you were definitely dreaming.
Wiedeman considers this lack of door usage a huge nuisance. “The worst thing ever is when there are two doors, and people only choose to use one of them,” said Wiedeman. “They’re both available. All you have to do is open it and walk through.”
The courtyard is often less crowded than the hallways, and that’s why many people choose to use it, even when it’s freezing cold. Don’t be the person who blocks the door and makes it impossible to do so.
Freshman Alex Loree considers the courtyard an essential escape route. “The courtyard is really convenient, and it helps a lot,” said Loree. “People should use it more often.”
Hey, you know there are two doors, right?
Thou shalt not push, shove or run in the hallways, as it also makes others have a burning desire to destroy all guilty parties.
It’s honestly not that hard to act more mature than a 5-year-old. Seriously, you learned that running in the hallways is dangerous when you were in kindergarten.
Loree finds behavior like this unnecessary and annoying. “Certainly, don’t run in the halls,” said Loree. “There’s so many people, and it’s so congested. Don’t run.”
Even if you’re late to class, there’s this thing called “speed walking.” Use it to your advantage.
Thou shalt not stop directly in the middle of the hall to discuss the answers to that first period math test that absolutely no one cares about.
If you’re going to stop in the middle of the hallway, expect to be the most hated person in the building for about six minutes (just enough time for a class change).
Wiedeman explains how difficult it is to get around people when they stop right in front of you, especially in a busy area. “The Central-East connector right between the lobby and the connector is always so busy,” Wiedeman said. “Everyone is trying to go seven different ways. People always stop and talk right by the lockers and take up a whole bunch of room, and there’s like 15 of them. No one can get around them.”
Taylor observes how underclassmen compare to upperclassmen in this area of hallway etiquette. “Upperclassmen get where they’re going and then socialize near their classrooms, out of the way. Underclassmen tend to linger in high-traffic areas.”
It sounds like Fairmont’s upperclassmen have learned the drill. Get to where you need to go, and then feel free to talk about that math test. You might find one person who cares.
Thou shalt not line up across the hallway instead of down the hallway when waiting to get a drink at the water fountain, once again blocking traffic and making others have a burning desire to destroy all guilty parties.
Water is good, and so is drinking it. If there is someone filling up a water bottle, let them do so in peace. It’s OK to wait for your turn.
The problem comes when others decide to wait as well, and instead of aligning yourselves against the wall so that people can walk by you with little trouble, you line up across the hall, blocking the middle area where literally everyone is walking.
Seriously, don’t do that.
Thou shalt not scream profane language every 20 seconds, blasting ear drums and allowing everyone to rightfully regard all guilty parties as inconsiderate and immature.
During a 30-second walk from one classroom to another, any Fairmont student could hear up to 14 different curse words used in 75 different ways.
First, believe it or not, the ability to curse isn’t a box to be checked off on a maturity test.
Second, screaming curse words at the top of your lungs every twenty seconds will make everyone hate your guts.
East Unit Principal Hank Jackoby has dealt with this personally when perusing the hallways. “Students, when they get into the hallway, sometimes forget that they’re still in school, and while they would keep their language appropriate in the classroom, they need continue to do that in the hallway,” Jackoby said.
“Now, I’d say 99 percent of our kids do that, and they realize they’re in school, and they watch their language,” he continued. “But there are some students who tend to forget because now, all of a sudden, they’re around a bunch of friends, and they might be used to using what I call ‘weak language.’”
Jackoby also notes the potential consequences for acting in this manner. “I can’t hear every single time that happens, but every single time that it happens in front of a principal or a teacher, we’re going to say something to them,” he said. “Each person is responsible for their own behavior, not what someone else does or doesn’t do.”
Thou shalt not willingly decide to travel the wrong way on the wrong side of the hall. Please, just stay to the right, and don’t be “that guy.”
There is a giant wave of people all traveling the same direction in the same hallway at the same time every single day. And then there’s “that guy” who always travels in the opposite direction in the same hallway at the same time every single day. Don’t be “that guy.”
Loree expresses how going against traffic can really get on his nerves. “I hate it when people don’t go the right way,” Loree said. “Just go where you’re supposed to go.”
If you absolutely have to travel the opposite direction, it’s OK. Just don’t do it all the time. Eventually, people will just start pushing you out of the way, especially if you are an underclassman.
As a freshman, Loree understands this concept. “I don’t really hear upperclassmen complain about freshmen, but you can definitely tell the upperclassmen kind of know the school a lot better and know what’s going on, and a lot of the time they’ll push you out of the way if you aren’t going where you’re supposed to. But you get used to that.”
Thou shalt not travel with “hall hate” and intentionally slam into other students simply because of personal anger issues. People can be annoying, but courtesy counts.
Road rage, hall hate, same difference. We all have our hallway pet peeves. But that doesn’t mean you have to ram people into walls when they cut you off.
Jackoby feels that the best way to avoid conflict in the hall is to simply deal with it and move on. “Just like on the road, when you’re driving, you want to go faster sometimes. But if there are a bunch of people on the road, then you have to go slower because there’s a bottleneck, and that’s just the way it is,” Jackoby said. “You can’t get mad and have road rage; you just have to deal with it.”
Wiedeman reminds students to simply be aware of the people surrounding them. “Be courteous and mind your manners,” Wiedeman said. “Be aware of what’s around you, and don’t be ‘that guy!'”
Jackoby also reminds students that having hall hate can put a downer on a good day. “Overall, each person is responsible for their own behavior, whether it’s slowing down, being polite to someone else walking by, using appropriate language, or saying ‘excuse me’ if they bump into someone,” said Jackoby. “You’re going to bump into someone with this many people in the hallways. Just say ‘excuse me’ and move on. You don’t need that to ruin your day.”
All in all, everyone can agree that hallway etiquette, while seemingly obnoxious, is a crucial part of high school life. We all break these 10 Hallway Commandments at some point, and we all have days where we let it get to our head. Just don’t let it ruin a good mood.