EDITORIAL: Enforcement of student security rules is much-needed

Stella Alexandropoulos, Sectional Editor

Life at Elk Grove has been different almost every year since my first year of high school.

That was the 2020-21 school year, and the pandemic was easy to blame. For instance, since the beginning of the pandemic we have adopted the block schedule and established varying rules.

The 2021-22 school year was the first time we weren’t learning remotely, which certainly made it difficult to adapt to what we would call a “normal school day.” Because of this, we all played it by ear last year. There were rules in place, but it felt at times as if nobody was really following them. 

For example, phones were out and being used during class time, students were eating in places other than the cafeteria for lunch, students would disappear from class after asking to use the bathroom and return several minutes later, and so on. Elk Grove’s administration figured it needed to work together to make some changes for the 2022-23 school year.

“The main reason for Elk Grove’s new rules is for student safety and success,” Steven Lesniak, division head for student success, safety and wellness, said. “We are checking ID’s more often so we know that whoever enters the building is supposed to be here.”

These rules were certainly made with students in mind. We had some rules last year, but as I mentioned earlier, they were enforced differently. Now some teachers, for example, can have students place their phones in a phone caddy. Although you will hear many kids complain about not being able to have their phones during class, it’s objectively for the better. We need to minimize distractions that can take us away from reaching our goals. 

Another change in rule enforcement at Elk Grove can be seen in how teachers provide passes for the bathroom, mastery lab and more. During certain periods of the day, students are not allowed to wander the hallway without a pass until passing periods.  Last year, there were times where students would ask to use the bathroom and not come back to class for a long period of time, causing them to miss prolonged periods of instruction. This year we have color-coded bathroom passes so staff members can keep track of where kids are supposed to be.

Although all these rules seem like they can help our school as a community, there are some students who seem unhappy with the measures, especially when it comes to lunch periods.

“I think we should be allowed to eat in classrooms and eat in other locations at school during lunch,” junior Belma Spahic said. “Some of us don’t all have room to sit in the lunchroom. I liked using the foyer. It was more comfortable.”

Again, these rule enforcements can be attributed to how things were last year. Although students may feel unhappy with how different things are going to be, staff and administration said the change was needed.

“Things are going to stay the way they are now, but if we see some progress and change in students behaviors, kids will have more freedom in the future,” Lesniak said.

It has certainly been harder to adapt to all these changes considering rules were not taken as seriously as they were last year and in previous years. It’s a big change but hopefully it will better us and our Elk Grove community.