Archived Story

Middle school student suspended for opening door

Published 9:31am Saturday, February 26, 2011

COURTLAND—A Southampton Middle School student was suspended Thursday for opening an exterior door for a visitor.

“Students are not allowed to open the doors, and if anyone does, they will be suspended,” said Dr. Wayne K. Smith, executive director of administration and personnel.

A districtwide policy prohibiting students and staff from opening doors to the outside was recently adopted after a $10,800 security system was installed at the middle school, Southampton High School, Southampton Technical Career Center and Nottoway, Meherrin and Capron elementary schools. Riverdale Elementary had a similar system installed when it was built three years ago.

All of the schools’ doors are locked during the day. Visitors must ring a buzzer and look into a camera before office personnel can let them in.

Smith said everyone knew about the policy and its consequences. The middle school student was the first to be suspended for opening a door. Smith did not say how many days of suspension the unidentified student received.

According to an anonymous e-mail sent to The Tidewater News, the “A” student opened the door for a woman he knew, who had her hands full. The e-mail also indicated the student received a one-day, out-of-school suspension.

Smith said he could not confirm the story for confidentiality reasons. Superintendent Charles Turner said he did not know all the details behind the suspension.

Turner said the policy that prohibits anyone from opening doors was part of making the security system work.

“If it happens, it’s defeated,” he said. “You have to have a system, and that system has to be consistent. We have to stay within the rules and stay secure.”

Turner explained that part of the school district’s mission is to provide a quality education in a safe environment.

“We looked at what we’re doing in our schools for safety and looked at what others have done,” he said.

That’s why the security system was installed initially at the secondary schools and then the elementary schools.

“We notified parents a week in advance once it was installed,” Turner said. “It was so well received by our parents.”

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