Pencil problems

Students propping doors open leads to school safety concerns


Madelyn Knight

Various doors at SHS have been found propped open by pencils. This raises questions about school safety, administration says.

Students have found more uses for pencils than writing or drawing. Instead, the everyday writing utensils have been found propping open doors around the school. This use has raised questions about school safety.

“If we can’t have a secure entrance, into the building and out of the building, then anyone can just come in and out when they choose to,” Assistant Principal Andrew Ashcraft said.
According to Ashcraft, propping doors open with pencils is a large security threat to the school as a whole. An open entrance with no security gives anyone, adult or student, the chance to enter the school.

“High schoolers don’t think about that,” Ashcraft said. “People will come and find you and hurt you, and I don’t want that.”

School security is proving to be a major issue throughout schools in the U.S. According to CNN, as of May 25, there have been 23 school shootings around the country in which someone was hurt or killed. By leaving doors unlocked and open, the chance of SHS being affected by an event like this increases greatly.

“With the things that have happened here, in the last year or so, with other townships and situations in our township, (school safety is) a big concern,” study hall teacher Carianne Tracy said.

Tracy plays a large role in searching the doors at SHS for pencils. According to Tracy, she checks the doors every period and keeps a count of how many she finds weekly. She says she finds one to three doors propped open every period. Her weekly updates are helping administration come up with ways to prevent potentially dangerous situations from happening and to brainstorm new ideas on how to respond in a manner that benefits everyone.

According to Ashcraft, administration is working on new student entry points and more security throughout the school. The possible student entrance would be near student parking, so the need to prop doors open would no longer be present. As of right now, doors are being checked by many different people, such as monitors, police officers and custodians, according to Ashcraft.

“We are working with our district administration to show the need to have a secure student (entrance) point,” Ashcraft said.

However, making a new entrance is not as easy as it sounds, Ashcraft says. Approval on an exterior check-in for students is already confirmed, but administration would have to hire someone new to regulate the entrance. As a result, creating a new position can become costly.

“Our schools do a really nice job with budgeting their funds…,” Ashcraft said. “I’m sure our district administration knows of the problem and are trying to help as best they can, responsibly.”

One student, senior Rachel Woodson, has experienced the issue with letting students in an unconfirmed entrance firsthand. According to Woodson, it is hard for her to leave her friends out in the rain when she could easily let them in.

“Sometimes the weather is horrible and you want to let your friends in,” Woodson said. “But they have to walk all the way to the front.”
Woodson believes that a student entrance would be beneficial to everyone. According to her, one door that is closer to the student parking would be easier to access, and there wouldn’t be as many conflicts.

Propping open doors with pencils has become a schoolwide problem. It has been brought to the attention of administration and students throughout the school. With security threats becoming more common, SHS administration is finding ways to combat them and prevent students from letting in people that could cause harm.

“Students don’t necessarily know who they’re letting in those doors,” Tracy said.

Listen to an interview with Assistant Principal Andrew Ashcraft: