Security staff will now strictly enforce a Blair policy that requires students without adult supervision to leave the school building at 3:30 p.m. The new initiative came after lax enforcement had led to large numbers of unsupervised students staying late at school, a situation security staff, administrators and building-service workers had deemed unsafe.
Following a Feb. 27 announcement, security staff will conduct a "sweep" of the school at 3:30 p.m., informing students to leave unless they are in a sponsored activity supervised by an adult. Students who refuse to comply will be threatened with administrative action or even police referral, according to the announcement.
The policy has always existed, but has not been strictly enforced, said administrator Linda Wanner. Prior to the announcement, from 20 to upwards of 60 students were found as late as 6:00 p.m., according to building-service and security personnel.
Security guards Jose Segura and Steve Miller currently stay after school until 5:00 p.m., while the rest of security staff leaves around 3:30 p.m. When Segura and Miller leave, however, building-service workers must deal with any stray students. "Building services is a catch-all for everything. When the school day ends, we're the security," building-service manager James Brown said.
With students hanging around unsupervised, Brown said, the situation is unsafe. Four to five years ago, a homeless person tried to assault a female building-service worker in a closet, according to Brown. Even students who are not doing anything harmful can surprise workers who believe the school building is empty. "It startles you," Brown said.
Security Team Leader Ed Reddick said theft is sometimes a problem after school as well.
Since the announcement, security and building-service personnel have noticed fewer students staying after school unsupervised. Building Service Night Manager Harold Walker said he estimates the change will only be temporary without continued enforcement. Brown added that recent nice weather could also be a factor in fewer students staying after school.
A building-service worker who wished to remain anonymous said the change was long overdue. "We can't get our job done. It's more about security than cleaning," he said.
Some students who were kicked out of the school believe the new enforcement is unfair. SGA President Denise Sylla said the first announcement threatening police action made students feel unwanted at the school. Since then, the announcement has been changed so that it only reminds students to leave if they are not in a school-sponsored activity, without mentioning any consequences.
Wanner said the initiative is not intended to make students feel like they cannot be at school. "We love kids in the building," she said. "But they need to be with an adult. It's a worry."
Izaak Orlansky. Izaak Orlansky is a senior in the Communications Arts Program. His hobbies include cross-country running, swimming, and singing in the spring musical. Izaak is also a big fan of the Yankees, and likes playing with big fluffy dogs. More »
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