New Year, New Policies

Administration Makes Changes to Student Gathering in Lobbies

Carlie Clements, Staff Writer

You are walking through the halls of your school when all of a sudden, you hear yelling. You can see that a fight has broken out. There is a huge crowd, and you can see that your principal is aware of the situation but cannot reach the area of the fight. As a student, you are concerned about the safety of your peers, but neither you nor your principal can converge upon the scene and a student may be harmed.

Beginning this school year, administrators are trying to find a way to avoid situations like these. Students are no longer permitted to stand in the cafeteria lobby nor the area near the doors in the big gym lobby, before school, after school, or during PowerHour.

“It’s a safety thing, it’s the crowds that are getting in there,” principal Tim Issacs said. ‘It’s difficult to see, and if we had to clear you out quickly, it would be difficult to do so. It’s a number of things and it’s purely safety. That’s all it is.”

Students, teachers, and other administrators have been greatly affected by these changes. Many have mixed feelings about the new situation and have a lack of understanding of why the new policy has been established.

Even knowing that safety has been expressed as the highest concern related to this new policy, some students are still conflicted.

“After understanding the reasoning, I still just think it really limits where you can go,” junior Kyle Browning said, “because now in the cafeteria there are not as many places to sit, for almost 2000 kids. A lot of people did stand up by the trophy case, so I get why they would limit the amount of students standing up there because they get crowded, but I don’t think they should totally block it off.”

Isaacs said that the lack of accessibility is one of the primary factors for this being a safety issue.

“One morning we had a fight and we couldn’t get to it,” Isaacs said, “and there’s glass up there, so you have to think about that. Say you get a big fight and somebody gets thrown into that trophy case. While it is safety glass, it’s still glass,” 

Assistant principal Chastity Yates added another concern. She has also said that this is not only an issue for students and faculty but also outside visitors.

“You have a lot of parents that come in for conferences before school, Yates said,  “and so we were walking (through a crowd). It was just hard to walk them through. That’s intimidating.”

A further concern of this new policy is the placement of the students that once were located there.

“The small gym, the small gym is wide open, but just a few short years ago, the small gym used to be full every morning,” Yates said. “That’s where everybody went and then somehow everybody’s patterns changed. So that was the purpose and having the small gym open in the morning, and so somehow we’re just trying to shift that back.”

But yet, as there are over 1,800 students, the administration does understand this may not be a fool-proof solution.

“When you move those kids, you understand you’re just moving them somewhere else,” Issacs said.“You’re not solving the problem. You’re just moving it.”

Another portion of this new policy is enforcement, which has caused changes in many of the assistant principals’ and teachers’ routines.

Yates explained that “if you hammer that down the first couple weeks of school, it becomes a habit, and [enforcing the new rule] was just sort of breaking the habit.”

This policy, like any other, is just simply a change, a change for students, a change for administration, and a change for outsiders entering the school.

“It does feel like a lot of changes this year. You know that happens sometimes because you get into habits, then you realize those habits have become more relaxed, and all of a sudden you’ve kind of got some issues,” Yates said.