A State of Emergency


Photo by Reese Vickers

A warning sign on an emergency exit door in the Science hallway. “It’s locked for your safety,” promises Security Officer Love.

Reese Vickers, Staffer

Early morning on Aug. 12, 2019, students eagerly listened to the morning announcements. A rollout of the usual back to school excitement pooled from the speakers, with the addition of one new topic; the emergency exits would now be locked and alarmed. Students of years past would often use to leave and enter the building,  but as of this year, that will be no more. Waves of confused and annoyed murmurs rolled throughout classrooms. The doors had never been locked nor alarmed before, why now? To many students, it seemed like an unnecessary hassle.

There is a silent majority in the student body, however, as Kenneth Sharp (12) proves. Sharp, who claimed that “the emergency exit alarms are a good thing, because it can prevent people from leaving, but it also prevents people from coming in without us knowing.” He doesn’t think they were implemented for no reason, either. “Because of all of the accidents and threats that happened last year, I think they were alarmed to protect the students and staff,” explains Sharp (12).

For the faculty, the safety viewpoint appears to be a common theme. Ms. Michelle Allen, an AP Literature and AVID teacher, highlights the reasoning for the installation, “The doors are locked for security purposes,” She confirms, “A new company was hired to evaluate the security system, and alarms is something that they recommended.” Security Officer Love elaborates more on the fact, “We had a lot of kids from other schools coming in when the doors were held open, and we couldn’t tell the difference.”

“Safety” could be vague to people, so what are the specifics? What does the school want to protect the students from? The current state of the country could play a role in the reasoning. The past school year was subject to a multitude of threats and looming clouds of incidents at other schools, which was surely an aspect of the installation of the alarms.

So, the doors are alarmed for the students’ safety, but what happens if students use them anyways? The announcements have told them that consequences would ensue, but what are the specifics? Allen assures that there are consequences, and they’re not just there to intimidate students into compliance. “Some of the consequences are immediate, like detention, and some are more impactful, like privileges could be taken away. Prom, homecoming, going to games, that kind of thing.” Faculty hopes that this will dissuade the murmurings of using them anyways, either as a joke, to rebel, or they just don’t care for authority.

The initial student response was anger as seen by the annoyed murmurings throughout classrooms, but how will this pan out in the long run? Officer Love persists that the worst will be over soon enough, “This will definitely positively affect students and their behavior. Our number one priority is to keep you guys safe, and this will really help us.” When asked about students using the doors anyways, he laughed. “Last year, I think some of the kids thought they were getting away with something because they’d see us, and I think they were trying us. [The alarms] are for their own good.”