by Ary Hammerman ’25
Snap, click, tick, you hear behind you. You turn and are met with a huge bubble of bright pink gum, popping dangerously close to your face. Besides the risk of sticky hair and distracting noises, there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with gum. So why as masks become optional, chewing gum becomes forbidden?
“Gum is considered overly casual for a school environment,” high school principal. Eric Bassin said. “School is a little more formal of a place than the outdoors.Secondly, people sometimes take their gum and stick it under a desk, which is kind of disgusting and disrespectful. We don’t want that.”
Though many students understand the reasons for prohibiting gum, there are also some benefits. Freshman Emma Amidror shares her experience.
“I really like gum, it helps me focus and stay concentrated,” Amidror said. “I understand the risk of people putting it under desks, but I think the benefits outweigh the bad, at least for me.”
For those who really profit from chewing gum, accommodations to allow it can be made.
“There have been some appeals along those lines [of gum helping people focus],” Bassin said. “Our general position has been that if you have a doctor’s note saying that gum is particularly helpful to you, we will allow it. But most people have understood the reasoning for the rule.”
Besides being beneficial to students, many staff members enjoy gum and must also change their habits to follow this rule. Science teacher. Aaron Kogut is an avid gum-chewer and must rethink this custom for himself.
“I usually chew gum on my way into and out of school, it helps me with the stress of the drive,” Kogut said. “Before this rule, I would have definitely continued to chew gum throughout the morning, but I’m going to change my practice now.”
Kogut agrees with Bassin in that this issue is generally about respect rather than the actual act.
“Gum could be distracting and disrupt classes,” Kogut said. “There’s also something to be said about general respect. When we are chewing gum, that tends to be something very relaxed and easygoing, and in school, there is something to being a little bit more professional about things.”
In terms of the difference between gum with versus without masks on, Bassin explained that it is not always worth requiring students to possibly pull down masks to check for gum.
“It’s harder for teachers to notice gum under masks, so students may not have been called out as much,” Bassin said. “It occurred to us that people may not even realize or remember this rule after two years.”