The newly implemented security measures at Onteora High School have produced some strong feedback. It has only been a few weeks since the new lock-down protocols have been in place and Superintendent Victoria McLaren shared with the board an evaluation of the changes. They have included the reinstatement of bus passes, for tracking students who stay after school and along th eir regularly scheduled routes. Also after-hour access to Onteora High School had changed so that the door is locked and staffed by an individual who screens entrants and buzzes them in.
At the January 8 Onteora board of education meeting McLaren detailed how the cafeteria, the Fitness Center and the Library all have extended hours, open until the late school bus and shared how all these places, especially the library, are great after school resources for students. McLaren made sure to highlight the positive support they’ve received from the parents.
McLaren’s update was in sharp contrast to student reaction. Satch Sumner-Waldman, the student representative, was in attendance to give an update on the student government. After presenting, Sumner-Waldman paused, and then spoke: “A lot of the students have been complaining about the new strict rules that have been implemented after the holidays. And I know that I’m not supposed to give my personal opinion at all, but I do agree that some of them are a little bit ridiculous…Its a little bit ridiculous and that’s the general consensus…” The students of Onteora High, he said, don’t understand why the rules were put in place, other than a “crackdown” of students crossing the road and in the halls after hours. Sumner-Waldman concluded “It just seems a little bit extreme.”
The student reaction was known to the Board of Education President, Kevin Salem, who said “I can tell you that this has been on our radar as well. We have heard things…”
Trustee Lindsay felt that there was a flaw in the process. “…I don’t really feel its implementation was successful because you guys were not given a place at the table.” Salem and Shands urged Onteora High School Principal Lance Edelman and the students of Onteora to examine this together.