The tragic shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary last December understandably prompted a call for security improvements at Fairmont High School, and gratitude is due to Kettering’s administration for responding quickly.
The Flyer agrees that security is vital to the school. Students need to feel safe, and many of the changes make good sense. However, The Flyer also feels some changes are not only inconvenient but also unnecessary. Simple tasks are becoming very complicated due to the extra security measures.
As students, we truly understand that the administration has to cover all its bases and has to make the school safer to quell community worries. However, if administrators looked more closely, we think they would see that some of the changes feel like they’re just hoops for students, residents and faculty to jump through.
Take locking exterior doors, for instance. It’s a nuisance. If students come late to school following a doctor’s appointment and have an assigned parking spot in the athletic lot (as the majority of students do), they have to walk all the way around the building in order to enter through the main door. While this seems insignificant, once you get around the building and past the security checkpoint, check in at your unit office, and go to your locker to get your books, half of a period has already gone by.
Locking doors does cut down on the number of people flowing in and out of the school, but is it really necessary or effective in stopping someone with the intent of shooting up a school? For those who haven’t noticed, our school doors are made of glass – and many of those doors are surrounded by large walls of glass. Should someone with a gun decide he wants to get in the building, that glass will do little to hinder his progress.
Now, The Flyer isn’t trying to scare anybody. We believe we are very safe as a student body. Not every school has a police department virtually across the street. That alone should be enough to deter anybody with evil intent. But if it doesn’t, locked doors, a fenced-in courtyard, and assigned parking spaces aren’t likely to.
Speaking of assigned parking, we feel it is especially non-essential. There doesn’t seem to be any significant security advantage to it, but it does inconvenience the student body. For example, if students have projects and want to park near the closest entrance to their destination, especially on a rainy or windy day, the process is now much more time-consuming and problematic.
And students whose parking spaces are taken by visitors who aren’t familiar with the parking situation are rewarded with an extensive walk from the overflow parking lot close to the Shroyer-Lincoln Park intersection. Not to mention the parking pass doesn’t actually stay on a car window without a whole roll of Scotch tape supporting it.
Also if you’re getting your license halfway through the year, we recommend coming to school at 7:15, admiring all of the up-close, empty parking spaces, then driving to the back of the lot, parking in Siberia, and trudging your way to the school. (Of course, that doesn’t apply to you if you were among the really savvy students who, even though they didn’t have their license, bought parking passes at the start of the school year in anticipation of passing their driver’s test this year.)
Hyperbole and blatant sarcasm aside – you get the gist of our argument.
Our administration has done a great job protecting us and educating us about safety, but it seems as though Sandy Hook has “spooked” everybody – and rightfully so.
However, we must remember to keep a cool head in such situations. Perhaps instead of assigned parking spaces, Fairmont should just issue parking passes. That way, students can prove they are affiliated with the school without the undue stress and complications that assigned spaces entail. And instead of locking all exterior doors, why not leave a few main entrances unlocked, such as the Athletic Lobby entrance and a West Unit entrance, but have a security guard posted to ensure safety?
The Flyer believes there are other solutions regarding student safety that don’t infringe on day-to-day operations at the school. We think the administration used a “rather be safe than sorry” approach, and we respect that. Now, however, it is apparent that some security measures aren’t needed and should be modified or done away with.