Changes at WHS cause confusion for seniors


Natalie Rassiger

Off-limits “senior doors” tested by one student

Natalie Rassiger, Co-Features Editor

From the very first day of school, rumors have circulated about new restrictions and regulations at WHS. One change that has caused many seniors to feel angry is the locking and alarming of the “senior doors” in the cafeteria.  Some in the senior class feel that these changes were directed at our class and reflect a lack of trust for the seniors because these doors have always been used by seniors as they come and go for open campus

   While I agree that at first this change did seem unfair, in fact it was required based on a review of the school’s safety procedures. That review was undertaken by the school’s safety committee and the fire department, who determined that these doors should only be used as a fire exit.

   “Very often, administrators do walk-throughs with safety teams to see what doors and exits and entrances they define as a safety exit or [that create] a dangerous entrance or exit for anybody outside of the school community,” Jennifer Knight, the new assistant principal, said.  Over the summer, one such walk-through determined those doors were no longer to be used for just entering and exiting the building; the students could use the front door or other appropriate doors [instead].” 

     Given that this change was required for student safety in part per the fire department’s guidelines, then the school has no choice but to comply. I think that the issue is that students were not involved in the process that led to this change and that if the administration had alerted students to the change before they arrived at school to find it already in place, then students would not have started the year feeling so confused and upset.

    “I sometimes feel like the school is taking part in the show ‘What Would You Do?’ and they are just pranking us to get a reaction,” said senior Shrihan Yadav. “The school does not seem to trust us, and it is getting people riled up.” 

   This is upsetting to seniors because, for many of us, getting to use these “senior doors” is like a rite of passage at WHS. As a result, people were not happy that this was taken away. While I understand why the doors had to be closed, I also understand why my classmates are upset.

   In my opinion, blocking off the doors is appropriate because school safety is the most important thing. However, because the school leaders did not share this decision when it was made over the summer, students were left assuming it was all about a lack of trust. The administrators, however, do not seem to feel that way.

    “We have no reason to distrust students. You have an amazing senior class; Mr. Peri and I were just talking about how you guys are modeling what we would like all students to be doing,” Knight said. “We are both very proud of the senior class and the changes that are made are for safety.”

   The school has already been working on a long-term solution to allow seniors a different privilege that will let them come and go: badges that senior students will get that will allow them to get in and out of the building during the designated school hours without having to be buzzed in. 

   “Currently, the badges are blank white and contain a chip inside that will open the doors of the building without having to push the buzzer,” principal Paul Peri said. “Potential future uses may include the badges helping with paying for lunch, copy machine usage, entrance into class and/or events, and attendance.” 

     Overall, the communications of these changes created many problems, but with new and improved plans on the horizon, I know that students will feel the outcome is positive and will make a big difference in the school. As a senior myself, I am excited to see how it all plays out.