Security changes testing the mettle of Walnut

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Isabel Nissley

Students wait to file in through the newly installed metal detectors. Metal detectors were installed over the summer as an answer to a wave of requests for increased school security to combat the epidemic of mass shooting in American elementry and high schools.

As Cincinnati mourns the Sept. 6 mass shooting in the lobby of the Fifth Third Center downtown, WHHS students continue to see a reminder of such violence as they enter school every day.
Beginning on the first day of school, Aug. 15, 2018, WHHS students got their taste of the newly installed metal detectors. Little did they know the metal detectors would cause an unforeseen amount of tardies and a line stretching from the front door to the buses.
Bella Tan, ‘22, shared her thoughts on metal detectors: “I think they are a bit inefficient. Especially because of the fact that they pick and choose random kids to get searched, while they let others go to class.”
SENIOR Kayla Terrell also agreed, “I thought that the installation of the metal detectors would make me feel safer in school than beforehand, but ultimately they just became another obstacle that I have to face when trying to get to first bell on time in the morning.”
According to a Chatterbox survey posted on Schoology, 175 students are not at all satisfied with them and only four are. Of the students that answered the survey, the answers were split evenly in half between having been late to a class because of the metal detectors and not.

I think they’re going to be effective, we just have a lot of kinks to work out. Our district knows this. Walnut has a very unique campus. ”

— Assistant Principal Ashley Morgan

On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman opened fire at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. On March 24, 2018, a group of students from WHHS got on a bus and headed to Washington D.C. for the “March For Our Lives” protest. The March For Our Lives was a demonstration led by students pushing for sensible gun control legislation.
Consequently, several safety procedures have been put in order by Cincinnati Public Schools, including installing new metal detectors.
When asked about her thoughts on these new developments in the school, English teacher Lauren Posta said, “I think if we’re going to have them and we want them to be effective for the purposes of keeping our school safe, and making sure that we don’t have weapons coming into the school, they are being used effectively. Yes, I know that there are entrances that students and adults and outside people can get in, so I don’t know how much safer they’re making our building.”
Posta said, “I can see how that could create an unsafe environment, not just for a school shooting, but in general, having that many students lined up. And I don’t know how that’s going to work when the weather is bad, or it’s raining or when it’s…30 degrees outside if those lines are still going to be happening, and I don’t know if that’s necessarily safe for our students”.
Assistant Principal Ashley Morgan believes the metal detectors will ultimately be a positive change for the school. “I think they’re going to be effective, we just have a lot of kinks to work out. Our district knows this. Walnut has a very unique campus,” Morgan said.
Principal John Chambers wants to use the metal detectors as a way for him to interact with students and see the precautions they have to experience. “I’d rather be there to see the kids come through than just putting it off on someone else. I want to feel the pain of the students going through it,” Chambers said. “I want to be right there with the kids to see their experience of it.”
It seems that the metal detectors are here to stay. This change is impacting most of the people, students and adults, on campus. It feels like a big change, but many see it as only a small step to greater school safety.

 

 

The information provided in this article is accurate as of Sept. 5, 2018. Since the school is still tweaking the use of the metal detectors, The Chatterbox staff recommends that students take steps to make sure they are aware of the latest policies. As of today, students can be punished for opening locked doors that do not lead to a metal detector in an effort let people bypass the metal detector lines.