Delayed school opening causes concerns


Photo Credit: Ryan Hornish

Build up of students at Harristown Road entrance.

by Ryan Hornish, Copy Editor

Principal Arlotta and Middle School Principal Dr. Wirt released an email to parents stating that school doors will not be open to students until 7:40 a.m.


Students that arrive prior to 7:40 are allowed access to the school cafeteria beginning at 7:17 a.m., but no one is permitted elsewhere in the building until the stated time.


Although the school has delayed arrival time, many families do not have the ability to do the same. Most often work schedules in addition to other circumstances require parents to be out of the house at an earlier time, so students are still arriving at school prior to 7:40. This has caused crowds of students to consolidate outside of several entrances, waiting to be allowed entrance into their school.


Parent and students are concerned that the pooling outside of doors r poses a safety issue.


Members of the Home and School Association (HSA) released an email summarizing this problem: “Our campus is small and does not adequately provide for the orderly flow of traffic or the safe discharge of kids from cars along Hamilton Avenue or Harristown Road.”


Arlotta agrees that this was an issue and a concern for student safety. The administration is discussing how to plan to control builds up near entrances. One possible solution is to open other doors and hire adults to supervise the flow of students entering the building.


The large masses of students gathering near doors has become a major worry to many student and parents. Tensions are high due to school shootings around the country and several bomb and intruder threats the school has had in the past few years. These fears live in the backs of minds to many.


With the build-up of kids at doors, it can make it easier for a dangerous person to slip through the crowd unnoticed.


“It’s always been possible, that’s why we want to add those people at the doors,” Arlotta said. “If someone wants to get in that’s an adult, honestly our teachers and everyone is pretty attuned here and that’s why we have these I.D.s.”


An HSA meeting on September 14 raised the question as to if the delayed start time was due to teacher contract negotiations. This rumor was waived off by school administration. Instead, Dr. Wirt attributed the change to poor behavior in the halls.


Arlotta explained that it was a factor in the decision. Since teachers are no longer arriving at school before 7:40, there is not enough staff to supervise.


“Our plan of having enough teachers in the building to supervise kids at 7:30, we couldn’t enforce that anymore,” he said.


Parents have also voiced the concerns that the traffic increase is causing students to be late. In addition to the increase of cars on roads surrounding the school due to the later start time, the recent railroad construction on Harristown Road (which has since ended) also heightened the traffic issue.


Arlotta said that traffic is always to be expected and it is not an excuse to be late.


Though students have begun to adjust, it is a stressful change for many. Students have less time to go to their lockers and organize their supplies for the day and cannot meet with teachers for extra-help before school.


Arlotta said that he expects doors to open sooner during the cold winter.