The school administration has recently passed regulations that restrict student access to certain campus areas during lunch and after school. Starting Monday, October 5, the A and C building hallways and the Aztec Court are off limits to students during lunch. The following Monday, October 12, the administration announced that the campus would be closed after 3:30 p.m.
During lunch, students are still allowed to enter the building for club meetings, tutoring, and teacher visitation. The career center and library are also open to students during this time. Additionally, students are given about five minutes after the be- ginning of lunch and before the end of lunch for locker access.
“The reasoning behind [the rules] is that we [want to] be able to supervise everybody,” said Interim Principal John Scanlan. “When I got here, pretty much everybody was everywhere during lunchtime and that’s not conducive to being able to supervise everybody.” Scanlan added that these rules were in implementation during his previous time at Keppel, over two years ago.
“We are trying to maintain a secure and safe campus so that students at lunch time are in a central location in case of an emergency.” said Assistant Principal Alex Perez. “As long as the kids are not in the hallway and they are in a room supervised by an adult, we’re good.”
When the rules were first implemented on October 5, there was a strong reaction from students. Feedback was expressed primarily through social media platforms. Numerous Facebook posts were written in protest against the new rules, and a petition on change.org to repeal the policies garnered over 200 signatures before the petitioner deactivated the form. Common student complaints included the designation of several benches as off limits, the crowdedness of the lunch court, and the unavailability of restrooms.
While the administration presented sensible reasons for the regulations, some student grievances are also valid. For example, the regulations were effective immediately, without advanced notice or input from students and parents. This may have made it difficult for students to adjust, alienating many. Additionally, the measures were a bit extreme in nature, placing restrictions on the majority of students due to potential inappropriate behavior from only a minority. Supervision over everyone is always logistically impossible, even with the new rules.
Instead of restricting all students for the misbehaving few, perhaps the administration could focus its efforts on guiding misdirected students. Increased student involvement may also help students monitor themselves and practice self-control. Conversely, students should try to be informed and consider different perspectives before reacting. Then, students should present their feedback rationally and with conviction. In truth, access to hallways during breaks is a privilege and not a right. Misinformed and premature backlash only incites mob mentality and does problem.
The administration is open to conversation and has responded promptly to students. Scanlan said, “Just come talk to [the administration]. We’re flexible and understand sometimes we didn’t do it the right way and we need to change something.”