LT adds new security measures

School safety regulations have increased in comparison to 2022-2023 school year


Students crowd the NC Tunnel during a passing period (Kowalski/LION).

Evelyn Kowalski, Editor-in-Chief

Emerging from a pandemic and a year filled with mass shootings, LT’s Building Leadership team shifted its focus from pandemic-related health safety issues, to student safety-related issues. The Building Leadership team consists of principal Jennifer Tyrrell, as well as the Associate and Assistant principals. 

“We knew that safety and security would be on everybody’s minds as we were returning to school this year,” Tyrrell said. 

Over the summer, the school hired a national leader in safety and security, Paul Timm, to come in and assess the school’s overall security. After roughly nine hours of assessment at both campuses, he created a report of recommendations for the school to instate. 

One of the biggest changes this year is a new requirement for students at NC to commute between the Bell Tower and the Vaughn Building through strictly the underground tunnel, rather than outside. Before this year, the main school doors would be unlocked during each six minute passing period to allow students to travel outside, adding up to almost an hour a day. 

As frustrating as it may be for students, this inconvenience allows our school, including its students and staff, [to be in] a safer learning and working environment,” P.E. teacher Melissa Mitidiero said. 

Because of the limit of outside access, the tunnel has become a very high traffic area. 

“The tunnel is wildly crowded now,” Maureen Hanner ‘23 said. “I cannot even hear a thing, even when I am standing directly next to someone. I’ve been to concerts that are easier to talk during.” 

Along with these new restrictions on student traveling, the visitor policies were re-written and formalized. Visitors must now have an appointment set up in advance when visiting either campus. There is also an email address for staff members to use when they are applying to have a visitor, and it is approved through that email. 

Additionally, students are now obliged to have a hall pass when traveling anywhere outside of the classroom. The pass system is further enforced this year to encourage less wandering around the halls, ensure the identity of people in the halls, and to prioritize instructional time. The hall passes are detailed with the time out of the classroom, date, class period, and a teacher signature. 

“Is it a pain for teachers to fill out a pass in the middle of class? Absolutely,” teacher John Seiple said. “However, there are so many less distractions in the hallway that the sacrifice is worth it. I wish we could find a more efficient way such as scanners, where a student scans their ID on the way out, and in when they get back.”

Students are being mostly affected by the new pass system, Abby Grech ‘25 said. 

“I think the new safety measures put in place are somewhat understandable,” Grech said. “The passes are a bit overkill because a student shouldn’t need permission to go to their locker, but I understand why bathroom passes are necessary. Ideally, we can move back to just a signout sheet in the future.”

Some of the findings over the summer have also caused new recommendations — not requirements — in place for staff members. It is now a best practice that if teachers want to keep their doors open during instruction, they should keep it locked. 

“When doors are locked, in the event of an emergency, you can pull the door shut, it’s locked, and you’re not fumbling with keys,” Tyrrell said. 

Moreover, it is now encouraged for staff members to wear their IDs at all times, for easier identification and safety purposes. Along with large changes, there have also been minor internal improvements such as replacing or removing several security cameras that were not working.  

“I am really proud of our students and how they have embraced it with an open mind,” Tyrrell said. “I think it’s reflective of the fact that our students and parents are thinking about school safety and security. Oftentimes when you are talking about safety and security I think you forgo a little bit of convenience, but safety needs to be the priority.”