Congested Hallway Disrupts Classes on the Second Floor

Maryorie Lopez & Farah Hanno
Students sitting in the hallway on the second floor.

Francis Lewis High School has been facing the challenge of being one of the most overcrowded high schools in New York City. Students with a free period are having trouble finding space in the lunchroom and often try going to the library, only to find it at full capacity. This leaves the hallway as one of the few options for students to choose from.

According to Principal Dr. Marmor, there are three areas where deans monitor and allow students to sit; the “music wing,” the “math hallway,” and the second floor “art hallway” by the library.

“The capacity of the building itself has limits,” Principal Dr. Marmor said. “If every single student in the building that had a lunch period or a free period, would go to the lunchroom, the lunchroom couldn’t hold it. There’s just not enough space.

Students who sit in the second floor hallway during their free period say that they have no where else to go.

“It’s very annoying,” junior Sariah Moustaffa said. “It’s not right that they kick you out of the lunch room if you’re not eating lunch and there’s no where to go, not even the library.  We really need more seats for students.”

Francis Lewis teachers who teach classes on the second floor have expressed frustration with the noise coming from the hallway as they feel it disrupts their classes. 

“This [is] a problem that started last year with students occupying the hallway of the English wing closest to the library,” said former English teacher Ms. Jackman.  “They have been loud and disruptive.  A lot of times I had to leave my classroom to ask them to be quiet.”

In addition to teachers being frustrated, many students are also distracted while in class. 

“My ninth graders have asked me to step out in the hallway to ask the students to be quiet,” Ms. Jackman added. “It’s not even just a distraction to me but it’s a distraction to my students. Even when you have the door closed, you can still hear the noise from the hall.”

Students find comfort in the spacious hallways, only to find that there are times when they are told to leave, leaving them to wander the halls.

“We talk and do homework,” said freshman Helen Jiang, “stuff we do in the library except there’s not enough seats. They tell us to leave sometimes but there’s nowhere else to go.”

Some members of faculty are speaking up against the problem because they want to see a change.

“I went to one of our union representatives and I asked to bring up the topic because they meet with the principal,” school librarian Mr. Pagano said. “What the principal said was that he needs more teachers to back that up, in a sense.”

“What I’m trying to do is talk to teachers that share that hallway and see if they have similar complaints.  A lot of them do so I’m trying to put something together so that we can formally complain about the hallway.”

Rather than sitting in the congested cafeteria, many students even started to leave school during lunch, as another option. However, Dr. Marmor wants to avoid students leaving campus as much as possible. 

“When you’re outside, as a student, you’re more susceptible to people who might want to do anybody harm. You’re also more susceptible to being hit by a car or hit by a bus. There’s a lot of reasons why it is better to be in the building.”

“My ability to keep kids safe when they’re not in the building is obviously much lower than my ability to keep you safe when you’re in the building.”

A solution to relieving the overcrowding issue is the current annex being built in the back of the school. 

“The city is building us an annex,” Dr. Marmor said, “but they can only work as fast as they can to get the building built and actually they’re well ahead of schedule right now.  The problem of space, as long as our population stays around where it is, has a resolution coming.

However, students are anxious to have a quick and effective solution to the current overcrowding issue.

“We need somewhere to sit,” Moustaffa added.