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New gate protects students and faculty

Graham Hill, Opinions Editor

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While several notable changes await students this year—such as the new bell schedule, teachers and coaches—the most significant is the fence outside of main hall, which was implemented in response to last February’s Parkland shooting where 17 students and staff members were killed.  

Such an addition is a worthwhile effort for school security; the gates will lock shortly after the first bell, and anyone seeking to enter the school afterwards will have to go through the office to be let in. This added layer of security will help the school take note of any suspicious characters trying to enter school grounds.  

The fence improves upon previous safety measures at the front of the school, where some doors were still unlocked to allow late students in. It completely controls entry to the school, making it an effective safety measure.  

An addition that is expected to be completed soon is another fence that separates the parking lot on Himes from the drivers’ range to the student parking lot. 

The electric fence is designed so that it will open for a car exiting the parking lot, but will remain closed to any vehicles trying to enter, ensuring that no one could enter school grounds without first going through the front office.  

Many schools have similar policies; according to the National Center for Education Statistics, 89 percent of high schools have “controlled access to buildings during school hours.” 

It is also nothing out of the ordinary to increase school safety measures in response to a shooting. The NCES reports that in 1999, only 38 percent of students reported that their schools had locked doors during the day. By 2013, after Columbine, the Virginia Tech shooting, and countless other tragedies, that number had increased to 76 percent.  

One argument that can be made against the fence is an aesthetic one, but the importance of student safety far outweighs these concerns.  

By controlling access into school property, the fence is a valuable first line of defense against any potential shooter. It is a simple defense that, with proper vigilance, should be able to effectively protect the school, and most importantly, those inside it.  

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New gate protects students and faculty