Legislature considers restricting AP classes



A bill proposing that students would be limited to two APs in junior year and three in senior year is currently under examination in the student legislature.

Should there be a limit to competition?

In the last three weeks of November, the Legislature discussed setting a limit on Advanced Placement (AP) classes. English teacher Robert Primmer proposed a bill restricting every student to taking only two AP classes in their junior year and three in their senior year.

Jen Martin, a School Within a School (SWS) history teacher and Legislature adviser, said many bills that pass, including this one, aim to lower students’ stress levels.

“A lot of bills that pass through the Legislature are geared towards trying to give kids a bit of a break from the amount of work they are given. I think that over time, everyone in the Legislature agreed that the population most impacted by the stress of school tends to be kids in a large number of AP classes,” Martin said.

Tina Li, sophomore and member of Legislature, said there is a high amount of competition and this bill is trying to decrease that.

“There is so much of a competing culture at BHS, of taking the most APs, getting the best grades. There is something called maxing out the schedule, which is the assumption that when some people take six APs but you take two, then colleges are going to say that you are not trying hard enough,” Li said.

For a bill to become enacted, it first has to be approved by Legislature. Then, the bill goes to the head of school, who can either pass or veto it. If vetoed, Legislature can override this decision with a two-thirds majority. After this, the bill goes to the school committee, where they make the final decision.

Martin said the bill received mixed reactions from Legislature; many thought the bill would not pass through the school committee, while others advocated for its addition to the handbook. According to Martin, schools that restrict the number of AP courses students can remove student stress.

Li said drawbacks to the bill include colleges wanting students to take a certain number of AP classes and a limit would make it difficult for the students to reach that number.

“If some students are limited from taking these classes, it might be harder for them in the long run,” Li said.

Li said another issue with this bill is student freedom, as it would give power to the school committee and Legislature to interfere with students’ classes.

“As a school and as a legislature, do we have the right to legislate bills that interfere with one’s freedom to choose for themselves?” Li said.

Primmer said it is vital that students do not fill their whole day with academic classes.

“It is important that we have moments in the day when we can take a break. That used to be within the academic day because students were not filling every block with an academic class. Students are not taking electives to take these AP classes,” Primmer said. “This bill is a way for us as a community to say that you can pursue what you want, but we also encourage you to have some breaks.”