Enforcement of safety policy frustrates hockey players
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Frustration has spread across the high school hockey program, as a long standing security rule prohibiting use of the Sports Lobby entrance has been increasingly enforced.
The procedure was imposed after conferring with the administration and both past and present hockey coaches. Students are prohibited from entering the school through the Sports Lobby in the morning unless a coach lets them in. Players are expected to carry their bags from the Hamilton Lobby across the courtyard and go to the locker rooms through the school. Many hockey players are discontent with this policy as it is uncomfortable to carry several bags and sticks through the hallways.
Max Lindley, varsity goalie, finds the rule extremely inefficient. “It’s awful because I have my goalie pads on top of my bag, and it’s hard to fit through the doors when you are walking in the lunchroom and even more when you have to go through the back doors to get to the courtyard,” Lindley said.
These bags can even pose an injury risk to players and students. Several players have had incidents bumping into other students in the hallway and accidentally hitting them with sticks. The procedure is trying to minimize this.
Sophomore Pat Smith complained that this is an unfair and even unsafe. “It’s just extra stress on our bodies after practices all the time. I’ve even slipped and fell in the courtyard,” he said.
Though this procedure has been implemented for several years, an increase in security has increased the enforcement of this policy.
The third week of the 2015-2016 school year, the State Department of Education and Homeland Security visited Glen Rock, to the surprise of the administration, and asked that a lockdown drill be called. Afterward, they recommended an increase of the security of all of the entrances, specifically the Sports Lobby.
Vice Principal Mr. Michael Pasciuto believes that strong supervision of this entrance is necessary. “It’s in the back of the school and you can just pull around. If it’s not locked and secured then, god forbid, someone could get in there,” he said.
Many hockey players find this rule unfair. These athletes carry heavy equipment across the school, when they could be using the entrance closest to the locker rooms.
“I have to bring my backpack, my shower bag, my hockey bag, my pads, and my two sticks, and drag it across the school,” Lindley said. “It’s just so annoying when there’s an entrance right where I need to go.”
Aside from being extremely uncomfortable, hauling the bulky equipment takes an excessive amount of time and has caused players to arrive late to classes.
Noah Eleftheriades is a sophomore hockey player. Since the beginning of the school year, he has received several tardies, some as a result of this rule.He as received one 7:30 morning detention and is on the verge of another.
“By the time we get dropped off, walk through the cafeteria and courtyard and hallway, and finally the locker room, we have barely any time to get our stuff. That’s why I’m always late,” Eleftheriades said.
It is not the administration’s intention to make it difficult to get to class or punish students; they hope to keep the school safe and prepare students for the future.
Pasciuto believes imposing late policies will help students adjust to life outside of high school.
“I don’t know many jobs you can show up late to and keep your job, at least I haven’t, and that’s important because at the end of the day the number one goal is to give kids a safe environment to learn, the second obviously is to learn, and the third to to prepare them for life outside of here, at least in my opinion,” Pasciuto said.
But most importantly, the administration just wants the staff and students to be safe.
“The cones in the Hamilton circle, the sports lobby door, the late policy, the kiosk in the front, they’re all under the idea to enhance student’s safety, to increase school attendance, and to help kids prepare kids for when they leave high school,” Pasciuto said.
The players see the importance in school safety, but think that it can be handled in another way.
“I think it’s a good safety precaution, but they could do it better, like how they do the Hamilton Lobby,” Eleftheriades said.
The problem is that the school doesn’t have the staff to make that happen. In previous years, former coaches were responsible for watching the Sports’ Lobby and allowing students in. Most players kept equipment in their cars, so full supervision was not required, but this year players have been opting to use the locker rooms more often.
Head hockey coach Anthony Yelovich does not work at the school and therefore does not have the ability to manage this entrance. Players who want to bring their bags to the locker rooms can’t enter an unsupervised entrance so they must use the front doors.
“If we have someone to wait there everyday, a coach, that would be the best solution, but we don’t have that option,” Pasciuto said.
After research with other districts, such as Demarest, Old Tappan, Ridgewood, and many others, and analysis of tardy and safety procedures of previous years, Pasciuto says the current late policy and policy on the Sports Lobby door are here to stay.
“Though it may be an inconvenience of student athletes, these rules are only in place to provide a safe place for everyone in the building,” he said.