New Security Measures Implemented
by Emily Jiang on Friday, February 26th, 2016
Upper School Principal David Ball announced at class assemblies the implementation of the new IA system outside of Ware Hall. In order to enter Ware, students must swipe into the building using their IAs, much like in the dorms. Unlike the dorms, however, once the doors are open, they may stay open as long as necessary to maintain the hordes of students flowing in and out of the building. Mr. Ball left the reasoning behind the change vague, leaving many students confused as to why further security measures needed to be taken on our campus.
According to Associate Dean of Students André Heard, nothing in particular instigated this change. He explains, “Our open campus creates an opportunity for anyone to walk on campus and into school buildings unnoticed. In particular, Ware Hall’s layout allows visitors to walk into the building without administrator or faculty knowledge. The system is designed to allow people that should have access to [on-campus] spaces to have access, while limiting the access to those spaces for people who should not have access… It is a precautionary measure meant to deter or slow unwanted activity.”
While it is the first academic building that upper-schoolers now need to swipe to gain access to, this security system is not a novelty on campus. According to Mr. Heard, the Junior Building and Greenleaf, the only two academic buildings of the Lower School other than Ware, “already are locked down during the day, [and] require visitors to be buzzed into each building. Ware Hall houses the most students of any building at any time during the school day. It houses the vast majority of the Middle School, [Upper School] math and modern languages, and connects to Greenleaf Lower School classrooms,” he adds. Therefore, administrators saw Ware as a final step for increasing the safety of lower-schoolers while in class and an important step for protecting Milton community members in general.
The general student response to the new system seems to be indifference with some interspersed negativity. The vast majority of students I interviewed said they thought the system is annoying and/or unnecessary. Most of them have lost their IAs or have found that their IAs don’t work with the swipe system. Henry Claudy (II) summed up many students’ general sentiments, saying, “I understand why we need it—to keep the school secure—but it’s kind of a hassle. My IA doesn’t work.”
Michelle Erdenesanaa (II) considers its effects on different members of the Milton community, saying, “I think it’s fine—I think it might be hard for some people who lost their IAs. I’ve heard from my sister that it’s hard for a lot of middle schoolers because [the IA] is the first thing they have to take care of and make sure they always have on them. I’ve seen a lot of middle schoolers waiting outside for upper schoolers to open the door for them.”
Mr. Hackett, the head of Campus Security, addresses this issue, saying, “We added a card reader at the double doors and card reader with a keypad at the ramp door. The keypad allows for middle school students to have access after sports or activities when they may not be carrying their identification cards.”
Many students proposed future inconveniences that could result from the new swipe system. Maddie Landau (I) reasons that the system is not ideal because “If you forget your IA at home and you’re meeting with a math teacher, then you need to wait for someone to let you in.” Landau brings up another aspect of the system that perplexes many students. She finds the system ineffective because “People still use the stairwell in masses, but instead, now the first person has to use their IA. So it doesn’t make a difference except for the first person.”
Members of the administration, however, say this is the point. Mr. Hackett explains, “Last year, campus safety observed that during the change of classes rarely did the double doors actually shut. The amount of people entering and exiting the building just kept the door open. Since we did have card access already in place, with a little additional work, we could increase the number of faculty, staff, and students who could be protected during class time.”
With the growing number of school shootings across the nation, concerns with school safety are unsurprising. While the school’s precautions are an inconvenience to many of us, Mr. Heard believes the effort is “Doing what it has set out to do.”
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7683