To prevent dangerous people from coming in, and to meet the Districts’ safety requirements, the school is building a gate at the front in addition to the other gates. The gate will most likely be finished next Monday, according to Assistant Principal Mr. Moczygemba.
“The gate at the front is another layer of protection for our students and faculty, so that people who come in have to be buzzed in so that we know who’s coming in,” Mr. Moczygemba said. “They don’t even get to the front door unless we know who they are and what business they have here.”
The gate will be unlocked in the morning so people can easily get in the school. During passing periods, the left hand door will be left unlocked, so students don’t have to buzz in when they are running late for class. The main inconvenience, according to Mr. Moczygemba, will be for the visitors.
“What we’ve done to try and remedy that as best we can is that we make sure we have multiple answering machines in the main office,” Mr. Moczygemba said, “so if a secretary is busy, you have three more possibilities of people who can still answer the button and let the visitor in.”
Mr. Moczygemba said the community’s attitude towards the gates have been positive.
“Our community, with the implementation of the buzz-in system last year, have been very accepting of it as a slight inconvenience but worthwhile for the safety of their children,” Mr. Moczygemba said.
But some students have concerns that the gates will actually represent a danger in case of an emergency.
“If we need to run, there’s not going to be enough space for everyone, so it’s going to be hard for everyone to get out,” senior Michelle Mercado said.
Moczygemba said that with the push bars on all the double gates, the students will have no problem opening them, so the traffic flow will be effective in case they have to run.
“Even the fire marshall has no issue with the ability for our students to flee the building because of the way those gates are designed,” Moczygemba said. “They only lock someone out. They don’t lock the students’ ability to flee at all.”
The advantages of having gates, according to Moczygemba, is having a “clear demarcation” of the school’s entrance and implementing the different procedures to get inside in order to make it harder for strangers to harm anyone.
“That’s a very big difference from what we had two years ago, but with the day and age we live in, the safety of our students and faculty are important enough to spend those resources,” Mr. Moczygemba said. “That’s the advantage, and those two things outweigh any inconvenience that it might have.”
There have been discussions of other safety measures that could be put in place, but Mr.Moczygemba wants to wait to talk about them when those measures come “at the appointed time.”
“[The gates] and the clear backpacks were two very good first steps in the process of trying to make our high school campuses more secure for our students,” Mr. Moczygemba said.