The limited entrances, while stressful for students, are in place to protect Blazers
As Blazers returned to school this fall, many have classes in the portables or enjoy lunch on the school's playing fields and in the courtyard. Yet as they hurry back into the building to make it to their next classes on time, many Blazers have found that the closest entrance is often locked or staff stand nearby preventing anyone from entering.
While students may be frustrated about taking a longer route to their next destination or worried about making it to class on time, the purpose of keeping most doors locked is to keep Blazers safe. Natalie Brown, a paraeducator in the ESOL/Reading Department, explains that while all doors allow people to exit, only a small number of doors allow entrance, with security guards nearby to ensure safety. "There has to be an entrance since students are eating [and attending class] outside, but there is a limit to the amount of doors people can come in through. That's why some are open so individuals can enter, but not all. Generally, there should still be someone standing around the doors that are open," Brown says.
Brown explains that the rules were implemented years ago to prevent non-Blazers from freely entering the building. "[In the past], there have been issues with people coming on campus and coming into the school that did not belong here," Brown says.
According to Spanish teacher Kerri Galloway, who teaches in a portable on the Colesville Road side, teachers are given swipe cards which allow them to get into the building without much difficulty. "[But] if I forget or lose [my swipe card], it's a problem. Then I have to walk all the way around [to the University Boulevard or Colesville Road entrance] to get into the building," Galloway says.
But for students, this arrangement is not always optimal. Sophomore Zeno Argaez agrees that the safety of students is important, but the policy of only letting students enter through a couple of doors coupled with the six-minute break between classes makes it difficult for students to show up on time. "It's just inconvenient in general because students won't be able to get to their classes before the bell rings," Argaez says.
Students may have grievances about the policy, but with the rapid expansion of the school's population, Blair's security team also has more work on their hands. Several years ago, the school added ten portables on one side of the building. Students travelling to and from those portables use the cafeteria doors leading to the courtyard. Recently, the school added eight more portables on the Colesville Road side, near the tennis court and track. This means the security team needs to monitor the other side of the building's entrances as well.
Students in the portables on the Colesville side have to walk an extra long distance to get to class. Swipe cards were ordered, but they have yet to arrive "Students have to go up there to knock [on the door until someone lets them in] or walk all the way around to the University Boulevard side to use the buzzer to get in at the main office. [Without the swipe cards], it's hard for them to get in," Galloway says.
Blair Security Assistant Brian Leatherwood explains what the new portables mean for the security team. "We added a post [on that side of the building], since we have new portables by the tennis court. So now we need to have an additional person by the Colesville side doors to let people in," Leatherwood says.
Not only does the security team monitor the two entrances, but many Blair staff members like Brown volunteer their lunch time to monitor the other doors and make sure no one enters. "Whatever we can do to keep people safe," Brown says.
However, Argaez feels that students should be allowed to simply show their student IDs to door monitors and be let in. After all, the main purpose of the policy is to make sure only Blair students and staff enter. "If anything, I think there should be someone [at the doors] checking who goes out just so that people can go to their classes quickly," Argaez says.
Nonetheless, despite inconveniences for both staff and students the school implemented the limited entrance door policy with good intentions. So before grumbling about the far distance, remember the sacrifices everyone, not just students, are making to keep the community safe.
Joy Song. Hi! My name is Joy, and I'm a staff writer. Apart from writing for SCO, I enjoy reading and listening to music. More »