Saturday, April 05, 2008
It is impossible, I think, to be completely ignorant of the new policy at James Logan High School if you happen to enter the campus. Whereas IDís used to be an unregulated form of recognition on campus, now, it is the sole proof an individual has as to whether or not he or she is truly a student or a faculty member of the school. One cannot enter the campus grounds without it. Because of this newly implemented policy, entrances have been reduced to only four checkpoints, just about wide enough to allow a single person to squeeze past after flashing their identification card.
Like many students, I fail to understand exactly how this addresses Loganís current predicament. Of course, it is a safety measure; one can see that. It keeps unwanted intruders that may be potentially dangerous away from the school, after all. However, the problem of intruders is neither pervasive nor prevalent at this given time. In the past three years here that I have spent at Logan, intruders have rarely posed a problem. As the gut of the true problem lies in violence by students themselves, this hardly seems to be a preventive measure. As a result, the policy seems only to create a new awareness as to the possible circumstances that could surround our school. I canít help but immediately feel the results of the policy once I step foot on the campus.
Take, for example, the adjusted routes a student must navigate to arrive at the checkpoints. My old route in the morning used to consist of crossing H Street, entering through the driveway to the right of the pavilion, passing through the side gate of the 500s, and arriving at my locker. Then, I would proceed straight down the length of the campus to the band room for my zero period class, a very simple pathway indeed. Now, however, it is much more complex. After crossing H Street, I must head over to Colt Court to get my ID checked, then head back in the direction I came from to get to the 500s and my locker. Then, after that, I must double back yet again to Colt Court on my way to the band room. Even this is not a straight path. In attempts to isolate the checkpoints so that nobody, whether a student or potential threat, can sneak past, gates all over the campus are locked. I walk in one direction, expecting the usual doorway. Instead, closed gates block my way. Itís nearly a maze trying to navigate my way around.
Of course, there are several reasons as to why my route has been changed. Most obvious is that regardless of whether or not this policy was implemented, that driveway by the pavilion is blocked by construction of the new performing arts center. But forget that for a moment, because I donít think Iím the only one that has a significant route change. The main argument, then, would be that only so many gates could be opened because there are not enough people to regulate the checkpoints.
However, I do not think that such an excuse is a good argument. There are many teachers around, even during zero period. Besides that fact, I spotted many campus regulators staring at closed gates just to make sure nobody passed through them. Why could they not make those gates, watched so closely, into more checkpoints?
The loss of entrances poses many problems to students. The easiest to identify is that of tardiness. Not only must one take the precious few seconds to have oneís card scrutinized, but one must also be able to find the time to extend oneís route to allow for the pathway changes. Some people are already hard pressed to arrive at classes on time without these obstacles; must more be presented? Tardiness has been acknowledged as a rising problem that needs to be addressed. Thus, I believe that having a few more regulators patrol a few more gates is a worthy sacrifice to make certain that students are not late.
I am not demanding that the policy be removedóthat in itself is quite another topic. However, I am concerned over the unneeded obstacles that have been placed in studentsí pathways because of it. If administrators want the students and other faculty members to see the benefits of this new policy, I think that the inconveniences that are little more than annoying side effects should be remedied. If this simple problem is addressed, I think that we are well on our way to taking the next step to making this misunderstood policy accepted by all of us.