The Illusion of Safety


Nick Skidmore

Students waiting in line in front of the gym foyer.

Emma Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

Metal detectors and bag searches have been a recent trend with high schools all throughout Kentucky. In Fayette County, Frederick Douglass was the first to implement these changes, with other high schools following. Now, it’s Lafayette’s turn.

The new school safety procedures at Lafayette are being put in place in phases. First, entryways were restricted. Students may only enter the building through the gym foyer and bus foyer, students who arrive to school late must go to the front entrance of the school. Next, metal detectors were set up in all of the entryways. Students had to give their backpacks and other bags to the newly hired Safety Ambassadors. The Safety Ambassadors took bags and carried them around the metal detector while the student walked through.

The most recent procedure was put in place today, September 12th. Students are now required to have their bags searched upon entering school. While in line, students were told by teachers to unzip their backpacks, lunchboxes, and any pencil cases inside of them. This new phase led to long lines running out of the gym and bus foyer areas. The metal detectors are still not up and running, and it is anticipated by students that the conditions will only worsen once the metal detectors are turned on.

In the students’ opinion, the new bag searching phase has created havoc while entering the school building. The lines were so long that some students were still in them at 8:45, twenty minutes after school officially started. Sophomore Portia Beyert commented on students’ tardiness, saying, “…I would like to say that there were people still coming into class at 8:50, so they had already missed a lot of information. I looked out the window of the stairs near the band room and the line was out to the parking lot.”

At one point, the line went all the way from the front of the gym foyer to the sidewalk by Reed Lane. Teachers were advised to not take attendance or give out hall passes until 9 a.m. to allow every student the chance to get into the building and to their first block class.

Students in the line gave accounts of their experiences. Sophomore Lindsey Sargent said, “The back lines were so crowded. We were told the front was better… I waited for about ten minutes to get in the door… I got into the building by the first warning bell.” 

A Lafayette Junior, Scarlett Brock said, “From my experience, it’s creating a really stressful learning environment. School isn’t school anymore. It feels like a prison or airport. Not to mention they don’t even search us that well, at least not me. They waste all this time for nothing. I have been going in without a badge for a week and they don’t even go through my backpack. [The new procedures] aren’t creating a safer environment.  It’s having a detrimental effect on the learning environment and the student body and its school pride.”

Many students have complained about the consistency of the bag searches. Some claim to only have their belongings rifled through, while others report an in-depth search of everything in their backpack. This includes makeup bags, pencil cases, calculators, lunch boxes, and gym bags. With these in-depth searches, there are items being confiscated. An anonymous student said, “I almost had my ibuprofen taken away, even though it is on file with the front office. I was told I could go without a note… but the [safety ambassador] didn’t want to believe me.”

The new school safety procedures have caused lots of stress and frustration within Lafayette. Both students and teachers have expressed their negative feelings towards the new procedures. Today was only the first day, so it is hoped that the conditions improve and major problems are resolved.  School is a place for students to feel safe. Many students don’t feel that way when entering school only to see these new procedures as ineffective and having created an unsafe environment.