Administration Strictly Enforces Anti-Side Door Policy


Chrysanthi Lundstedt

There have been more than 70 school shootings in the past 10 years. Not all have resulted in death, but all of them have resulted in injury and loss of the sense of security at the institutions at which they occurred.

One of the most tragic and impactful school shootings happened in December, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Schools around the nation were rocked by this incident and many had epiphanies about their own school’s safety.

At Urbana, there have been many new security measures implemented to try to keep our school as safe as possible. Last year, signs were hung up at each side door asking students not to prop open doors. Students ignored this rule, so now consequences have been put into place to “give it some teeth.”

Deputy Stocks says that he had hoped that it wouldn’t get to this point, but safety is a priority here at the U. Upon the first offense of letting students into side doors, all students involved will be given a verbal warning. If caught a second time, an after school detention will be given. Offenses after that will yield extreme repercussions to students violating this school safety rule.

The administration has begun looking at security cameras to catch the perpetrators if rocks or other objects are found propping open side doors. The most popular side door that students prop open or attempt to gain entry through is the one by the greenhouse. Stocks does note that there have been fewer incidents since the more severe punishments have been put into place.

Students must now use only the main, gym, and auditorium entrances and are not allowed to use any side doors. When asked if there has been an increase in lateness of students since they can only use main entrances, Stocks says that there hasn’t been any change in tardiness.

Keep in mind that the front office only keeps track of official lates, which are students who arrive at 7:45 or later. Students who are only a minute or two late because of having to walk around the school to get to an open entrance that isn’t a side door are not taken into account through this statistic.

Senior, Rachael McDonald, says, “it is very difficult to be on time to my first block class when I have to go all the way from the gym entrance when my class is in the B-wing.” She also says that “if criminals want to get into the school, they are going to walk into any entrance regardless of who is watching the doors. The teachers at the doors are not going to recognize the perpetrator, because there are over 1,500 students flooding into the school each morning.”

While I fully understand the reasoning behind these precautions, I disagree with the practicality of them. I was just two minutes late to school when I pulled into the gymnasium parking lot. I briskly walked to the gym door assuming that I would be let in, but the door was locked. I frantically journeyed over to the cafeteria door and also had no luck there. My only option was to make the hike all the way to the main office and cascade through the hallways to my classroom in the distant C-wing.

It would have been much more time efficient to be able to use a side door; I ended up being twelve minutes late to class instead of just two. Since lates are only officially counted from 7:45 and up, then why should students, who are technically “on-time” in the main office’s view, be penalized by being denied use of any other doors other than the main office before 7:45?

Denying entry through the side doors is just an inconvenience to students and makes it even more difficult to be on time to class when the entrances that are open are inconvenient in relation to their first block class. Why can’t administration put another staff member at the most frequented side door to make it safe to enter under the standards that they have for the entrances that we are allowed to use? That would make life easier for the administration and students. It would take the worry out of teachers snitching on students who still choose to use the side doors and the administration from trying to catch the disobedient students.

Speaking of security measures, in the near future, Urbana will be getting a new front office area. This is another preventative measure that all schools in Frederick County are taking to make schools as safe as possible. FCPS has decided to have the construction done to all elementary schools in the county first, since school shooters often target elementary schools for the “greater shock value,” says Stocks.

The plan is to put new doors in and close off the main entrance so that anyone who comes into the main entrance must walk directly into the front office. These security measures are being put into place to make our school safer one step at a time.