Students Disagree With New Security Policies

Policies aim to promote safety, students find them too restrictive

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Photo by Matteo Winandy

After lunch senior Kate Hatch shows security guard Carolyn James her school ID. This is Hatch’s first year where she is allowed to go off-campus for lunch. “I love having more freedom this year, and appreciate being kept safe by the security guards,” she said.

Principal Jeremy Gilbert just wants to keep his students safe. 

“The new security policies are in place for a couple of reasons,” Gilbert said. “First and foremost, it is for the safety and well-being of our students.”

These new policies include the enforcement of student IDs to enter the building and restrictions on leaving the cafeteria during lunch periods. Gilbert does not deny the influence the recent school shootings in North Texas have had on these new policies.

“If something were to happen at school, it would be really important that I would know where my students are,” Gilbert said. “We are really trying to enforce IDs a lot more so that we know who’s in our building.”

He explained that in the previous years, students were allowed outside of the cafeteria and there was no way to keep track of them. Assistant Principal Michael Lewis says this problem was in part due to the different policies that were enforced during the height of the pandemic.

If something were to happen at school, it would be really important that I would know where my students are,”

— Jeremy Gilbert

“We kind of wanted to space everybody out,” Lewis said. “We had to have the social distancing, so that’s why we had to let everybody spread out throughout the building. Now, it’s not a main concern right now.”

According to Lewis, while security has always been the main concern, there were also other issues that influenced the policies.

“There were some complaints from teachers about kids being too loud in the hall,” Lewis said. “In the pods, there was a lot of trash that was left and underclassmen tried to skip lunch. We wanted to wrangle that in.”

Although these new security measures have been enforced to keep students safe, many students including sophomore Avery Gibbons, feel that the policies are too restrictive. 

“There’s hardly any room in the cafeteria to hold everybody,” Gibbons said. “[There are] people who need to sit out in the student entrance to work on things like school work [and] it’s  quieter to sit out there to eat.”

Gibbons says that not only are the policies too restrictive, they are also unreasonable. She argues that the policy surrounding student access to the library during lunch periods is especially illogical. 

“I think it just makes more sense to be able to [leave the cafeteria] early because going into the library does not have anything to do with security in my mind,” Gibbons said. “The QR codes [for library access] are not even working, so it doesn’t really make any sense to have them.”

In addition to Gibbons, junior Maddie Worthen disagrees with the security measures. She has found technical and logistical issues with them.

“The policies in the cafeteria are [kind of] stupid because if I need to go to the library and print something for my next class or talk to my teacher about a question I have, then that should be allowed without getting stopped by a teacher,” Worthen said.

Despite the policies’ focus on ensuring student safety within the school, Worthen still finds that the policies are far too harsh in controlling students’ freedom.

“Last year, we would be able to go to teachers’ classrooms and [such], but I just don’t get it,” Worthen said. “Why are they trapping us in the cafeteria?” 

Security guard Carolyn James sympathizes with juniors who wish they were allowed to leave school during lunch which was allowed during the 2021 school year because of COVID-19 concerns. However, she sees the need for stricter security after a string of shootings in Texas.

 “I love it [new security policies] because of how much better it’s for you children and your safety here,” she said.