New safety measures in place at UAHS this year cause problems for students

by Caroline Favret, ’18

It’s the first week of school, and the hallways are again crowded with confused students, underclassmen and upperclassmen alike.  Being only 5’3”, I still get hit in the face with the occasional backpack on the main stairs as I jostle for space coming back from lunch (and to my next class all within a 5 minute window).  

Last year, I could avoid this problem by taking an alternative staircase.  This year, however, only two doors are open, making the main staircase the quickest way to classes, or the seemingly most obvious choice.  The “senior” doors, by the Brandon Road lot, and the main office doors are the only options during school hours.  

School safety is a big priority in our district, and with the continuing trend of mass shootings in the U.S., I wholeheartedly concur with locking most exterior doors during the day.  However, when as a senior I still get asked to sign in and pick up a bright pink visitor’s’ badge yet the boy (who I recognize as a sophomore) doesn’t, its evident that the effort is there, but enforcement for some of the safety policies is uneven.

That being said, many universities also have locked doors.  But, they have a key card system for students and staff.  At UAHS, we are encouraged to not let anyone in, regardless of recognizing the person in question.  This is sometimes difficult when you see a friend late to class, and almost any student can admit to not following the rules in this situation.  But, a system like OSU’s was implemented this problem may be alleviated.  OSU’s “BuckID” grants access to resident halls, computer labs and academic buildings, but each student is authorized to go to difference places based on their courses.  At UAHS, we have only 1 building to which students need access, and the teachers already have the capability to unlock doors.  

A potential problem may be lost cards, but they could be turned into the office.  And if students all had IDs, the need to steal one wouldn’t be an issue.  This would allow students to come and go as needed, especially for seniors with open study halls and students coming from the Mt. Holyoke lot.    

These proposed changes would not only help to clear the bottleneck beneath the stairs, but also alleviate the confusion arising from varying instructions from teachers.  Overall, the safety protocol would be streamlined and therefore more effective, while allowing students to worry about their coursework more than getting to class.