New Security Policies Could Reduce Tension Between Students and Staff

Grace Palmer, Opinions Editor

 I have been happy to see that this year the security staff at South seems to be focusing more on safety concerns, over trivial concerns such as dress code violations. Although our security staff  has always strived to keep students safe, in past years it seemed their interactions with students centered around what could be called secondary concerns – in particular, violations of the dress code. Changes that have gone into effect this year point to a greater focus on safety and a marked shift away from these practices.

 This year, the security staff has new, stricter policies regarding late arrival and being in the hall without a pass. I think the new policies will create a clearer relationship between staff and students, leaving less room for arguments and hostility over unclear expectations. The prioritization of safety and security also puts students and staff on the same side, although it may take time for everyone’s perceptions to shift to reflect this. Overall, I think that this shift in priorities has the potential to be really good for the community.

 There is more security presence in the hall this year, but staff are more likely to ask for a pass than tell a student that their skirt is too short or their pants are too low. Students arriving late are now required to stand in a line to scan in. Although interruptions for passes and for waiting in line seem like annoying impositions, it is clear to me that they support student safety and education.

 Clearly, the security staff is our ally in this regard; students come to school to learn, and would like to be safe as they do so. This is a change from last year, when students were often singled out for discipline due to what they were wearing, or language use, among other reasons. These interactions created more confrontation between the security staff and students who were not necessarily impeding others’ safety or learning. These policies made the atmosphere of the building more hostile because students felt they could be taken aside at any moment for reasons that they did not see as significant. Members of the student body saw themselves as opposed to the security staff and administration.With the changes, I think that it is more clear what is expected of us. We understand the concerns of the security staff, and why these precautions are important.

 The declaration of independence says that the government derives its power “from the the consent of the governed.” The South High security team has taken one step closer to this status this year. Their new relationship with us has the potential to reduce student friction with authority within South. This could lead to more cooperation and a better environment for the entire South community.

Edited to add: I have realized over the past few weeks that the potential benefits of the new policies that I wrote about above have not been realized. In fact, the atmosphere at South seems more hostile due to the security staff’s harsh treatment of students. Look for more in our November print issue.