Montgomery Blair High School's Online Student Newspaper
Wednesday, August 15, 2018 6:28 pm
April 12, 2018

Blair's new security system aims to enhance school safety

by Arthi Thyagarajan, Sports Editor
As a result of new Montgomery County Public School (MCPS) regulations, the doors on the Colesville Road side of Blair remain locked from 8 a.m to 2:30 p.m. Montgomery Blair principal, Renay Johnson, implemented the new safety measure two weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fl. that left 17 dead.

Blair's assistant principal, Brandi Richardson, explained that the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School prompted new safety measures. "The situation at Parkland is one that has become all too often, and Blair, being the biggest school in the county, needs to ensure the safety of its students," Richardson said.

The new security system requires all students and visitors who arrive at school later in the day to come through the building through the unlocked doors at the main entrance. "All guests must filter through the main office. This allows for a middle ground between full access and absolutely no access," Richardson noted.
To request to open doors, visitors have to press this button and wait for a click. Katie Calingaert
To request to open doors, visitors have to press this button and wait for a click.

Having one main entrance also makes it easier to screen who comes in and who goes out. "We can identify who visitors are here to see and why they needed to come inside," Richardson explained.

However, the issue of students opening or propping doors open for other students and guests continues to be an issue. "We're constantly at the radio, making sure we track down the students who don't follow the rules. We also stress the importance that if students see something, they should say something," Richardson said.

Blair junior Dagmawe Gebeyaw supports the locked-door policy and thinks that school retribution will prevent students from opening doors and allowing outsiders into the building. "It can be dangerous when students prop doors open because any stranger could come in. But, now that they are getting in trouble, kids are less likely to do it," Gebeyaw said.

Blair freshman Anika Dasgupta feels safer with the new safety precaution. "I think Blair is generally a safe school, but within seconds the dynamic can change. I definitely feel safer knowing that it is much harder to enter the school during the day," Dasgupta said.

According to Richardson, the new regulations are not Blair specific. There are similar security measures being implemented across MCPS to improve school safety.
Students and visitors are required to enter the building through the main entrance after 8 am. Katie Calingaert
Students and visitors are required to enter the building through the main entrance after 8 am.

Threats to student and staff's safety are becoming more severe. On March 20, two students were shot at Great Mills High School in St. Mary's County, MD. Additionally, recent threats have been made targeting schools across the county that participated in #NationalWalkoutDay, organized by MoCo Students for Gun Control on March 14.

Threats have been identified in the form of calls, writings, emails and social media posts. Some perpetrators have been criminally charged, while other threats have proved to not be credible. A Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) statement said that "many of the people making these threats have motives that range from wanting to disrupt school activities to making the threat as a prank." MCPD sent a letter to MCPS families alerting them of the recent threats.

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