April 21, 2023
*All statistics from a poll of over 350 students by the Marquee
A key part of Abbott’s change to school safety is the requirement that all outside doors on Texas schools remain locked during school hours. He has also implemented random checks at every Texas school to check that doors are locked. While keeping the outside doors locked isn’t new on campus, it is being more heavily enforced. Administration checks the exterior doors weekly, and being caught opening a door or letting somebody else inside is punishable with Wednesday night school.
Classroom doors are also expected to be locked during class time. When somebody knocks on the door, teachers check who it is before opening it.
However, in a poll by the Marquee, only 14.6% of students surveyed said that locked classroom doors are effective.
To senior Emily Starks, a system where teachers must pause lessons to let a student into class is a disruption of class time.
“They honestly don’t make me feel safer,” Starks said. “They’re kind of an inconvenience. They disrupt the class a lot.”
However, sophomore Dayanara Mestanza believes that it protects students.
“I think the locked doors is a smart idea because the people who
are unwanted in a classroom, they won’t be able to come in,” Mestanza said.
Mestanza also said that students should respect the rule, no matter their views on it.
“I just think you have to be considerate of other people’s safety and the rules,” Mestanza said.
But while senior Emily Starks understands that the rules are meant to protect the students, she feels like the doors have changed the high school experience.
“It’s also a constant reminder,” Starks said. “It doesn’t freak me out, but it’s kind of like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re always susceptible to school shootings.’”
According to School Board Member Sheila Taylor, the district is walking the line between protecting kids and maintaining a comfortable environment at school. While she approves of locking classrooms, she also understands the less relaxed environment it creates.
“My middle schooler, some of the stuff she says is, ‘It feels like I’m in jail,’” Taylor said. “But, she saw what happened in Uvalde. She’s that age, and she understands what’s needed.”
At the Uvalde shooting, Robb Elementary’s exterior doors and the classroom were both unlocked, allowing the shooter to easily enter the school. The classroom doors could only be locked from the outside.
Garrett said that even though student convenience is an important factor of safety rules, effectiveness is more important.
“I would tell students that while their perspective is always important, we will always put safety over convenience,” Garrett stated.
Sophomore Makayla Mahns supports the locked doors. She said that she likes that teachers vet who enters a classroom.
“Someone can’t just march in without us knowing,” Mahns said.