When a middle school student in Southampton opened the door for a visitor at his school, he got in trouble. A school administrator explained that this is strictly forbidden, and any kid who gets caught letting an unauthorized person into the school will be punished in a likewise fashion.
The school in Virginia is standing by their decision to suspend the young student who had an outstanding academic record. The parents in the community voiced opinions that the punishment seemed too harsh for the infraction, but the school authorities are unrelenting in their determination on the matter. The rules state that students are not permitted to open exterior doors at any time for any reason, and it had been made very clear to everyone.
Some of the parents were upset because they knew the visitor. She was well-known in the community, and the kid was doing what any decent person would do for a lady who was struggling to enter a door with her hands full. The child’s parents said they are fighting the decision, and they want his record expunged with an apology.
Part of the reason for the rule that is in effect for the whole school district is due to a $10,800 security system that was installed in order to prevent doors from being accessed from the outside. When students or staff circumvent the system, it undermines the security of the facilities.
All the doors of the district schools are kept locked during the day, and visitors have to ring a buzzer and be viewed on an exterior camera before an authorized staff member can let them in. The boy knew about the policy, but he let the visitor in regardless. Staff members reported that this is why he was punished. The unidentified middle school student was the first person to be punished for breaking this rule, and it was not reported how many days of suspension the boy received for the infraction.
The story was released to the local news via an anonymous e-mail. The sender stated that the boy was an “A” student, and he let a woman into the building because her hands were too full to open the door unaided. The e-mail stated that the student would be suspended for one day of which would be spent out of school. Wayne Smith, a school administrator, said that this information could not be confirmed for reasons of confidentiality. When the school superintendent, Charles Turner, was interviewed, he claimed that he didn’t know the details about the incident.
Superintendent Turner claimed that the suspension of the student was necessary in order to make the security system effective. He explained that the mission of the school system is to provide a safe environment for children to receive their education. There needs to be a security system that is consistently effective. If people don’t follow the security protocols, the security system is ineffective.
The superintendent said that the security system was developed partly from observing past experiences in their schools and also from observing what other schools have done to improve their security systems. The security systems were installed in the secondary schools in order to verify their effectiveness before they were put in place at the elementary schools.
Turner states that the parents of the students were informed about the new security systems after they were installed, and they reacted very positively when they were notified of the increased security for their children. With the increasing frequency and violence of tragic incidents that are shown on the news on a regular basis, this news served to quell some of the anxiety of parents in the community.
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