Catonsville’s Crowded Hallways

Catonsville%27s+Crowded+Hallways

Rayner Reinhardt, Staff Writer

BCPS stated in their most recent High School Capacity Study that high school overcrowding is expected to peak in the next ten years. I’m sure this is no surprise to the frequents of our school’s breezeways and hallway intersections. CHS has about fifty more students than expected enrolled this year, bumping total enrollment up to about 1,800, and the trend has been present for years.  

“Between periods I sometimes have to walk all the way across the school. It takes me so long, and I always run the risk of being late,” senior Astrid Jensen said.  

Late policies are meant to keep students from taking their time between classes, but now, even students who make their way straight from class to class may face consequences.  

“I had plenty of teachers last year who would threaten detention, especially when I was consistently late. But, when the hallways are crowded at the same parts every day, it’s hard to avoid moving slow,” senior Anish Gandhi said.  

High school hallways are stereotypically crowded; there’s not much you can do with so many teenagers. But, why does this year feel so much different? 

“I almost feel like this year is much worse. I don’t remember the halls ever being this crowded, and it’s not just because of slow-walkers,” Gandhi continued.  

Catonsville students often complain about groups of students standing in the halls or walking particularly slow. These are typical reasons why a hallway may be especially crowded, but the problem doesn’t seem to boil down to just that.  

“I don’t know why the hallways are so crowded. I don’t see too many people just standing around; it’s just a traffic jam,” junior Ian Miller said.  

Junior Gracelin O’Malley concurs: “It just seems like there’s too many people to move. No one actually holds up the hallways—there’s just not enough space.” 

O’Malley sums it up well: CHS simply has too many students. The numbers don’t lie either; total enrollment for this year is around 1,800 kids.  

“Just from being a teacher here for a while, I can see that the halls are just physically more crowded. It’s not hard to recognize,” Thomas Ferrell said.  

BCPS recognizes this as an urgent problem throughout the county; it’s not just CHS. They have been, and still are, hosting public information sessions, which allow members of the community to provide feedback and opinions on potential strategies to deal with the overcrowding.  

Some of these possible solutions include moving magnet programs to less crowded schools, adding new additions to schools, or starting to shift optimal enrollment at high school to 1,700.  

But for now, if you frequently find yourself stuck on the way to class, it seems there’s not much to do about it—and no one to really blame. The best thing to do would be to try an alternate route to your classroom. Cut through a breezeway or use a different staircase.  

“Usually I try to find a staircase that may not be as crowded. The cafeteria staircase is always the worst, so I avoid it at all costs. You get used to it,” Gandhi concluded.