PCP: Are new security changes beneficial to LT community?

LION staffers debate whether the start-of-the-year security changes, including hall passes and the tunnel mandate, help or harm students.

Kathryn Lazich and Mckinley Huffman

Safety changes are valid by Kathryn Lazich

Since returning to in-person learning, there have been many changes within the LT community regarding grading policies and school safety. With schools seeing increased violence over the years, school safety has been one of the major concerns for students and parents around the nation and in the LT community. 

If you are anything like myself, there have been times when nervousness can creep in as you walk into school because of all the “what if” possibilities that could happen during the day. While it is a sad truth, we live in a world where ALICE protocols, Blue Point Systems and safety audits are necessary measures to protect the safety and provide a peace of mind for our school community. 

School safety is one of the most crucial elements in creating a productive and encouraging learning environment. With that, it is important to be aware of tragedies that have happened recently such as the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and Highland Park, Ill., to prepare for possible scenarios similar to those. It is beneficial to have Violent Critical Incident (VCI) drills–like we had Sept. 2–so students can plan, talk, and think about how they would handle themselves in the case of an emergency. It is best practice to expose students to situations that could be valuable to their survival in the future. 

While it is understandable how the hall passes and the tunnel mandate seem to be an inconvenience and might make some students feel untrusted, these measures were put in place for a reason— to maintain LT’s safety. For the entirety of last year, I rarely used the tunnel to travel to my Physical Education (PE) classes simply because I preferred to use the crosswalk at NC. I was somewhat taken aback when I heard about the tunnel being one of the safety audits because I was so used to my routine; however, I was able to adjust and do not mind it anymore. No matter who you are, it takes some time to get comfortable with new procedures in order for it to feel normal. The frustration at the beginning of the school year with all the new safety changes was apparent, but overall students have continued to navigate through it all with open-mindedness and respect which is truly admirable. 

LT has been encouraging staff and students to carry their school IDs to exemplify best practices in the event of someone needing you to identify yourself. This is an awesome thing to be doing, especially at a school as large as LT. It is completely valid if a staff member or student needs to see your identification because it demonstrates that you are authorized personnel in the school. Additionally, it is easier to spot staff members when they are wearing their ID’s on lanyards which helps create an environment where students can ask for help if they need it. 

I know I am not the only one who reacted before thinking about the bigger picture when hearing about the safety changes at LT. It was a lot to take in and accept at first, but now it is something I do not think twice about. At the end of the day, it is clear that following the new safety protocols is in the best interest of the LT community as a whole. 


Security changes have gone too far by Mckinley Huffman

Crowded, cramped, painfully slow, you’re shoulder-to-shoulder with those around you and stepping on the shoes of the person in front of you because there is simply nowhere to go. You are trying to push through the crowd, but there are too many people and not enough space. You’ll face the consequences if you can’t make it to your next class on time, but this isn’t your fault. You’re carried through the tunnel by everyone else around you, confined to the crawling pace of a small space, filled far past its reasonable capacity.

This is the experience of LT students at NC, taking the tunnel from the Vaughn Building to Clocktower. New rules regarding the tunnel are just one of the many additional security measures taken at LT this year. Following a safety and security audit, students are now required to travel through the tunnel rather than crossing the street outside, reducing the time the front doors are left open during the school day. Hall passes are now taken much more seriously, and are required for any student wishing to leave the classroom, for example to use the restroom or retrieve something from their locker.

At first glance, these changes may seem like a good idea — the tunnel ensures the safety of LT students during the school days and passes keep the hallways orderly. While these are all important values for our school, the new security is overbearing, unnecessary, and makes students feel untrustworthy. 

The tunnel is a useful way to get across the street, but when almost every student is forced to use it to get from the Vaughn Building to the Clocktower building, it becomes overcrowded. With so many people in a relatively confined space, it is impossible to move quickly. This makes it very difficult to make it to class on time.

One would assume that with this change, teachers would be more lenient about students being a minute or two late, but it is quite the opposite. Teachers have been more strict than ever about tardiness and attendance. Passing periods also have not been adjusted to consider this inconvenience. 

The increased use of hallway passes is also inconsiderate. While I understand why it might be helpful for staff members to know who is allowed to be in the halls and why, the extent to which passes are used is futile. Using the bathroom is a common bodily function, and students do not have control over when they need to use the restroom. However, teachers seem to think that students should use the bathroom on their schedule. I know people who have been denied bathroom passes, or have been given a limited amount per semester, and this is unacceptable. 

The hallway passes force teachers to pause class to write out a pass, and students often also have to sign out on a paper, and leave their phone in their classroom. This makes both students and staff hesitant to ask for or grant permission to go anywhere which requires use of the hallways, since it has become such a drawn-out disruption. Writing out passes is undermining students and treats them like children who cannot be trusted. As a result of this, bathrooms have been increasingly cramped during passing periods, only adding to the issue of tardiness overall.

Security changes should be made to make our school a safer and more secure place, but the extent to which LT has taken our new security measures is excessive, and is doing more harm than good. For a more positive and practical school community, it is crucial for LT to rethink and abate recent decisions.