School Hallways to be Converted to Jail Cells
The 2:35 bell rings. Some 50% of the Pioneers frantically spill out of their last period classes, push and shove their way to a locker (not necessarily their own), and hasten to escape the confines of the building. Another 48% grab their team bags and are off to participate in one of our prestigious sport programs.
Taking into account floor friction, air resistance, and human body density in the hallways, it can be calculated to two significant digits that the school becomes pretty much empty by 2:45.
And that’s when the crackdown takes place.
It starts off almost imperceptibly. As an occasional late straggler plods through the hallway at 2:46, he may notice a custodian emerging sinisterly from the Foods Room, giving the wanderer dirty looks, as though to say, “Whatcha still doin’ here, lil’ boy? Tryin’ to plant a bomb in one of da lockers, are ya?” A few more janitors mushroom at critical intersections of the building. Even a comatose man can sense that something is brewing.
Then, the big surprise comes. You are navigating towards your locker, thinking that maybe it’s time to go home after all. The hot, stuffy air caustically gnaws at your eyes, and you cannot help but rub your eye sockets with a fist. And when you open your eyes again, you behold the long stretch of hallway in front of you mystically cordoned off by steel-reinforced cage bars.
You shake your head in disbelief, trying to ward off this nightmare. You turn around, hoping to find another way around, but it is too late. Everywhere you look, the hallways are barricaded, chained, and locked. All the custodians, having fulfilled their lock-down mission, already vanished into thin air until 7:00 a.m. next morning. You are the only one left, frightened and alone, and no one will hear your desperate cries for help.
But enough of the dramatization. Seriously, folks, what is the big deal with locking off hallways? If this is the administration’s attempt at protecting the school from those notorious gangs and terrorist organizations we have running amok in New Providence, then they’re not exactly succeeding. With clubs, sports, music and drama rehearsals, and other functions running at the school building practically 24-7, the gymnasium doors are almost always kept open, if not the main entrance itself. Sure, entering from across the gym and seeing metal bars separating the hallway from the rest of the building looks daunting, but anyone with enough sense and experience can just cut through the girls’ locker room to get to the other side.
Clearly, with the aforementioned activities constantly going on, the school cannot and should not be kept locked all day long. Students, coaches and teachers must be allowed to circulate freely, right? Vandalism shouldn’t be a problem, since there’s nothing in the hallways themselves worth vandalizing and the rooms are locked down by individual teachers at their own discretion. As for the lockers, if the students care enough for their metal treasure chests’ contents, they should make use of a wonderful little personal property protection unit better known as a lock. Besides, vandalism can occur during school hours just as successfully as late in the evening. So then why the heck are students continuously thwarted with barricaded halls?
Doors are another thing. Have you ever had to plod through the snow in freezing blizzard wind halfway around the building just because most of the entrances were locked? Late at night, this might be excusable, but right before and after school, when students are going in and out, having the doors’ bulletproof glass cackle at their futile attempts to get inside is frustrating and infuriating, to say the least.
We are expected to show up for school every weekday. Furthermore, we are encouraged to get involved in after-school activities. And yet at the same time, every attempt is being made to keep us out, or at least to inconvenience us as much as possible as we’re trying to enter 10 seconds before the homeroom bell. I myself often have been on the verge of lateness because someone forgot to unbar the back door. Apparently, our lives at the Home of Champions are too frivolous and carefree, and as part of our training for the Real World, those in charge are constantly thinking up new ways to introduce an occasional inconvenience or obstacle.