News 12 at 11 o'clock / Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. (WRDW) -- There's been a lot of talk about school safety since the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., a little over a month ago. One local high school is taking action, but the new plan is going to take some getting used to.
The phone rang for North Augusta High School students Wednesday night. It was a robo call with information on a new safety policy and with this warning -- be prepared to be inconvenienced.
"It's a really big campus and it's so spread out," said sophomore Lezlie Julian.
With five separate buildings, the size of the campus makes security difficult.
"There's more than one way to enter the school and they try their best with our officer on campus and everything, but it's so big that they can't watch every little thing all the time," she said.
Administrators have come up with a new plan to make the school safer: simply locking the doors.
"We will create access points during class changes," said Principal Todd Bornscheuer. "We will literally lock the doors at the conclusion of those class changes so during instructional time there will be very limited access to every building on this campus."
They know it will cause a lot of inconveniences. Students who are late to class will be locked out and students in the mobile units will have to walk around to the front of the school to use a restroom.
"If a student does have to go to the bathroom, they're gonna have to walk all the way around the building and then that's that student missing class time," Julian said.
"Obviously there will be a lot of logistical concerns about locking different areas of our buildings when you have 1,500 students who walk the halls of all buildings each day and have to traverse from building to building," Bornscheuer said.
He says it will take time to work it all out.
"In phasing it in, we're able to in one location troubleshoot the problems that we encounter, fix those problems before we move into the next phase," he explained.
Ultimately, safety is the key.
"As a parent myself, honestly, I could forgive a school for not providing the best academic education for my child," he said. "It would be hard to forgive a preventable tragedy."
Julian's father, Robert, couldn't agree more saying," I think its a good idea. The people that need to be in the school are in there."
If you're a parent wanting to visit the school or pick up a child early, the front doors will be the only ones left unlocked.
Phase one will begin next week with the cafeteria and phase two, which is the main building, will begin the week after.