In February, students gathered in the forum as high school principal Katie Gibson announced that new security measures were being debuted. The administration communicated by email to the wider community, and within several days, these new measures took effect.
“The securing of the front doors, updating our camera systems, setting up infrastructure for what will become the lower-middle school, are the general ideas,” said junior Robin Forsyth, summarizing the new policy. In practice, the Davenport street doors have been locked aside from designated timeframes, and people who wish to enter the building via those doors have to press a buzzer to be admitted by security personnel.
After some time to adapt to the changes, the GDS community has been reflecting on the new measures. Some students are supportive of the measures, and welcome the added layers of security. “I don’t think it really affects too many people’s daily activity. It’s a reasonable motivation, the motivation they’ve cited is reasonable. Even if it just prevents a computer from being stolen, it’s worth it,” said freshman Noah Weitzner. He continued, “I went to a school where we had to put bags through an x-ray machine and had to walk through a metal detector every morning, so it’s really not much of a nuisance for me.” Many community members are finding the enhanced security not to be a factor in their day to day activities.
Even as many people embrace the changes, others take issue with several different aspects of the plan. Forsyth, an opponent of the security, thinks that the school’s response was reactionary and was not properly vetted. “Its politics that are centered in fear and quick reaction to what in my mind was to prevent any potential lash out from parents or the board. I think that those policies rarely have any positive benefit and can quite frequently lead to irresponsible decisions that lead to long term consequences,” elaborated Forsyth.
Other students, like freshman Noah Abramson, think that the new measures jeopardize GDS’s commitment to a free atmosphere for students. “As a whole, I think it sort of limits the freedom that GDS talks about,” Abramson said. “Personally, they have not made me feel any safer, and it’s just limited our freedom.”
A tentative town hall meeting aims to discuss these issues. The next town hall is set to revolve around administrative transparency.
As GDS looks back on the decisions of the administration, there are certainly mixed feelings. With school shootings, terrorism, and other threats on the rise, school security has seen more of the spotlight than ever. At GDS, the freedom versus security question is one that is sure to see more debate in the years to come.
By Harrison Lundy