A Sign of the Times


Dacey Smith, Reporter

In a sad reflection of the sign of our times, Ball High School installed metal detectors on December 20th. All students were required to pass through the metal detectors in order to gain access to the building and their classes. The only problem was as soon as students started arriving, and it got closer to 7:30, a long line had formed in front of the clock tower. It was obvious that students were going to be late to class.

By the time the line had cleared, it was past 7:42, technically the time that students would be considered tardy. The next day, however, was the day students had first period exams, and the line to get in was, in my opinion, worse than the day before. Many students were 10-30 minutes late to their first period class. But why is that?

On the first day that metal detectors were enforced, and teachers realized how long the line was, the school sent an email requesting students arrive before 7:15, or else they could assume the student would be late.  But even though this email was sent as a way to warn parents ahead of time to bring kids to school earlier, and in spite of the high-tech metal detectors, the times were inconvenient, and the detectors were faulty.

Students were told to take out chrome books before they go inside because they would set off the detectors, but other things like umbrellas, large metal binders, water bottles, and foil could also set it off. As for the early arrival time, most kids couldn’t just adjust and change their routine to fit the new time.

I have a single dad and a younger sibling at Central, and in between Central’s arrival time and my dad’s work, it was hard enough getting to school by 7:25, but now I was being told i was having to get there 20 minutes earlier so as to not have a tardy on my record?  Though it’s inconvenient, I still followed these new times.

For those who live off the island or get rides from other people and depend on that ten-minute window between 7:20-7:30, it’s much more inconvenient. Once it gets a minute or two before 7:30 and there’s still a line, teachers start cutting the line off and telling kids to get a tardy slip, because they know they won’t make it in time.

Even though it’s stressful and frustrating, I understand and sympathize with the fact that we need a filter at the school. I know a multitude of kids who are more comfortable at school knowing that there is something stopping a weapon from entering the building. However, my opinion is that the system we have now is faulty and time consuming. There has been an instance where I set off the alarm, wasn’t even checked, and was allowed to go to class, and I am sure there are others who have experienced this.

The more I talk to other students, teachers, and even parents, it’s safe to say that they want something to stop weapons from getting into the school, but they also want a more effective way to ensure that happens, and that students get to class on time!

According to my dad, Luke Smith, “Kids should feel safe and comfortable when in school. Implementing a new system will always have things that need to be sorted out. Yet this system seems to have more issues than benefits. We will do whatever it takes to protect our children in the schools. However, the new system seems to create more stress than it does protection.”