New security measures have been added to improve safety for the 2017-18 school year here at Mt. Hebron. The new administration, under Principal Joelle Miller, implemented these safety precautions after hearing concerns from teachers about the security of the building. These new changes affect many different areas of the school at varying times and are in effect even before the school day begins.
One of the major changes requires that all doors leading into the school remain locked until 7 A.M. Doors will be unlocked in between class periods to allow students from the portables to reenter the building. Teachers must use a sign-in card to enter the school, and students must acquire a pass or note from their teachers to enter the school before 7 A.M. However, students may use the outside cafeteria door in the morning until the doors are unlocked.
The halls are also a large area affected by security increases, as students absolutely must have a pass every time they go anywhere during class, and teachers sit at desks in different areas of the school to make sure this rule is being enforced. This, combined with occasional hall sweeps, aims to ensure that students are where they are supposed to be at all times.
One person who is on board with the new security rules is Security Resource Officer Jason DiCerbo. “They will get kids more focused on classwork instead of socializing in the hallways,” Officer DiCerbo said when asked if he thinks having staff members in the hallways in the middle of periods is effective.
Not only are security measures being increased, but the cell phone policy has changed drastically as well. Originally, the rules were very loose on when you could use them, and it became a distraction to be on phones in class. Many students used their cell phones when they pleased, causing distractions during lessons.
Last year, a new policy was added — “Off and away unless I say it’s okay” — to allow teachers to decide when cell phone use is appropriate. This year, there is now a three strikes policy for students in terms of cell phone use in class. Each offense increases the extremity of the punishment, all of which handled by the administration.
Some students are opposed to the new cell phone policy. “I kind of don’t like it because you could be just checking the time, and you could get a referral without the teacher telling you, and it stays on your permanent record,” junior Sabrina Yi said.
But overall, the new security rules seem to be effective, as there are fewer students roaming the school during class periods and fewer cell phone violations.
Teachers have also been advised to allow only one person out of class at a time, which could prevent multiple students leaving at a time to socialize. And students are encouraged to leave their cell phones in their bags when they leave the classroom, in theory allowing for more efficient trips to their destinations.
With all of these new rules being added to enhance security and cut down on classroom distractions, there is hope for better class attendance and focus.