Not many people really know where their tax dollars go when the check the YES box for allotting more funding for public schools. This entry serves as a way that you – the faithful citizens of this lovely city and the apathetic masses – can observe some of the goings on of the public education system. As a student of Sylvania Northview High School I cannot attest to the travesties outside of my scope, but for the sake of this entry we’ll use Northview as an example that proves the rule.
First, let’s talk sanitation. Last year the ‘privilege’ of soap was withheld from students after a few incidents of broken soap dispensers. While the clearly unbiased Student Prints – the school run newspaper – cites student’s dispenser abuse as the fault, it was the school’s Principal Stewart Jesse who decided to deprive all students from soap without exploring alternate methods. As for the legality of the entire ordeal, the Ohio 4301:1-1-17 Sanitation requirements item H states “there shall at all times be available soap and individual-type sanitary towels or hand dryers.” I’m afraid cheap hand sanitizer in the lunchroom won’t cut it here. And yet in the face of this obvious injustice, the students of Northview have become complacent.
Now, let’s talk about security. Recently the school installed security cameras in all of the hallways as well as the commons area. Additionally, a giant glass wall with a few doors has intruded upon the front entrance – a wall that funnels all incoming persons into the attendance office before entering the school. I had a run in with this glass wall yesterday and witnessed in pure awe the epic idiocracy that plagues our school. Yesterday only freshmen were attending classes. I showed up at 8:30 a.m. to come and help a few teachers with cleaning out their rooms. I had been assigned this task for National Honors Society. When I went into the entrance I was met by the locked glass doors. Assuming I had to go to the attendance office, I was surprised to see that the door there was locked as well. When I called to the attendance worker she met me with the interesting phrase, “I can’t let you in.” A teacher I knew saw my plight and walked in, telling the attendance woman my intentions. She was met with the same curious phrase, “I can’t let him in.” What a monument to the school’s utter lack of common sense. It seems they had created a giant glass entrance, and given no one the authority to open it. A classmate who was already inside later sneaked me in.
Anecdotal stories aside these security measures have worrisome implications. There are two possible motives for the new system. Either the school genuinely wants to protect students or they want to scare the students into obedience through a Big Brother construct. By process of elimination one can see that the latter is true. If the school wanted to protect the students’ safety, why is only the front door subject to the security measures? The only ‘intruder’ ever to have entered the school came through a back door that was opened when a group of students were walking back into the school. In fact, they really have no proof the intruder ever existed. While they claimed it happened two years ago, I was at school and an intruder code was never called. The intruder is for all intents and purposes a construction – a myth that the school uses as justification for increased securities. Additionally, if they wanted to make the school safer why wouldn’t they just install I.D. pads at the entrances so only students with their I.D.’s could enter? Because then students would be under the impression that they could come and go as they please. Because then they couldn’t funnel us through the office, forcing us to explain ourselves to people who are unwilling to let an Honors student in to help teachers. If I couldn’t get in, who will be able to?
How is the school able to get away with taking soap out of bathrooms? How can the school continue to justify its security measures with wild claims of intruders when their measures do nothing to stop intrusion? These questions won’t go away. Only when we question the system can the system be reformed.
John Holler is a senior at Sylvania Northview High School. He is the vice president of Speech and Debate, a member of National Honors Society, and a good friend of several staff members of WXUT. He plans to attend Dartmouth next year to study Anthropology.