Opinion | Closing Classrooms Early

Kirsten Law, Associate Editor

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In the wake of the numerous school shootings around the nation, it is sensible that a substantial amount of fear arises in neighboring communities such that we should consider appropriate preventive measures against such tragedies.

Our school, along with many others across the country, has taken steps to prepare its students and to safeguard its facilities against potential threats, in the form of school shooting drills or speaking actively about shootings to ensure awareness.

However, one of North High’s newest directives — the closing of classrooms at 3:30 pm — has brought about significant criticisms from its students.

New to this school year, North High has created a policy mandating all classrooms be closed off from students after 3:30.

This new policy has been implemented alongside several other safety precautions such as new security cameras and a higher security door system to protect the school from events of emergency.

In particular, the policy hopes to exercise more control over the after-school activities in the building by discouraging the gathering of students in classrooms without adult supervision.

“When doors are open, people can just slide in there. There’s no control. We need to have some semblance of control,” said Dr. Kraus, assistant principal and member of the central administration which enacted the new policy.

“Teenagers, by definition, may be mischievous. We want to be able to not allow them to get into the position where it could be dangerous. We need to have adult supervision when possible.”

Indisputably, such fears are justified.

From simply performing a Google search on the school shootings, one can see that it is more than often that school violence occurs by the hands of a current student or alumni from that particular school.

By monitoring the activities of students during and after school operating hours — an inevitable measure that must be taken in today’s world — students are protected from within.

For many students, however, the inconveniences caused by the policy outweighs their concerns over safety.

While the early closing of the rooms reduces the possibility of students to gather and engage in destructive activities, it also disrupts the life at North High.

Students who participate in the many after-school activities at North, such as clubs and sports, have encountered significant inconveniences because of the closing of rooms.

“I understand what the administration is trying to do here but it’s really just a hassle in general” junior Kathleen Katchis said. “Yesterday I was at a club and I left my backpack in there so I had to go back to the room and it was locked so I had to go find another teacher to open it. In those instances, it’s really just an inconvenience to everyone.”

In those instances, it’s really just an inconvenience to everyone”

Similarly, the rigidity and strict enforcement of the new policy, while admirable as a means to provide protection, has, perhaps intentionally, made it harder for students to gather or socialize after school.

As sophomore Nicolette Kobrick said, “It’s somewhat detrimental to keep infringing on our own personal liberty to function in our own school.”

Students who are a part of clubs and activities or even night classes which meet past the new classroom curfew frequently face troubles with arranging meetings.

After school meetings require teachers to now be troubed to always be their first to open any door. Subsequently, students are unable to exercise reasonable autonomy.

Significant concerns were voiced by North High’s Community School, a program that facilitates all of which its name suggests— community and togetherness.

“The whole part of CS is fostering that friendship,” Kobrick said. “You get that in class and you get that at lunch but after school, those talks, you can’t even imagine what three people can talk about here. I don’t know about other rooms but for CS, it hurts.”

The addition of the policy creates a shift in the dynamic of the program by no longer allowing students to enter the room freely.

CS, which once exercised an open door policy for all students, must now shut its doors at 3:30.

While the new policy promotes greater protection for the school, efforts should be made to balance the negative impacts it has caused to student life.

It may be that no compromise can be made for those who have carelessly forgotten their personal belongings, or specifically for the CS room, but a compromise can be made for students with permissible reasons for being in school after hours.

By setting overly restrictive boundaries — the closing of all classrooms to all students — the school will risk stifling the growth and creativity of its students, and also make it a nuisance to retrieve any belonging left in a classroom.