Take a chill pill–or rather, a chill pass


Oliver Fierro, Reporter

According to an article by Katie Hurley, an adolescent psychotherapist on how to accommodate for anxious students in school, “anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, impacting an estimated one in eight children. Left untreated, childhood anxiety can result in poor school performance, poor social functioning, and even substance abuse.”

These sorts of disorders make it very hard for some teens to keep up in school. It can also be very difficult because most teachers just don’t know how to handle mental disorders in the classroom.

At Taylorsville High School the counseling center offers something called a chill pass for students who suffer from severe anxiety or a panic disorder. The pass allows a student to either step out into the hall or go to the counseling center when they are having an anxiety or panic attack in class and need to take a break.

“A Chill Pass is something we can assign to a student if we feel it will help them to succeed in school,” said Ms. Rasmussen, a counselor here at Taylorsville High School. Counselors can give this to students who are struggling with anxiety or stress in school and its purpose is to help alleviate some of that stress. It basically gives the student permission to step out of class if needed without any repercussions from the teacher.  

Any student who feels like they could use one of these goes through a thorough conversation with their counselor before the Chill Pass is issued. They talk about possible places they can go while using it, certain things they can do to help them calm down while on this stress pass and things like that all based on the needs of the student.

Sometimes though, there are those kids who decide to use the chill pass as an excuse just to get out of class when they really don’t need to and when that kind of thing gets reported they will be called into discussions over the future of their permissions with the chill pass.

“Teachers should allow for the student to go chill without any negative comments […] and then allow them to pick up back where they’re at,” said Mrs. Angela Rasmussen, a counselor at the school.

Once the pass is issued the counselors then sit down with the student’s teachers to let them know of the situation. They talk to them about the predetermined rules set by the counselor and the student so the teachers can get an idea of where the student will be or how long they might be gone. They are told to respect them and if they say they need to use the pass they should let them.

The whole purpose of the pass is to help students succeed no matter what. If they are having problems concentrating or doing their work because of anxiety this can be used as an outlet for those students to get some help in a way that doesn’t require them to bring very much attention to themselves in the classroom. The way that students can abuse the pass or the way some teachers react to it can be a little discerning at times but having a pass like this could really benefit the lives of kids in school.