Oakton administration cracks down on students leaving school
March 9, 2017
Filed under Oakton students
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You’re walking fast down the hallway, the door to the parking lot in sight. You look around and see no administrators. The coast is clear. You hurry out to your car and see your friend waiting for you. You quickly get in your car and drive through the lot, about to reach freedom. You think you’ve made it out of the lot when suddenly, as you’re about to exit, there is an administrator blocking the parking lot exit into the real world. Busted.
Leaving school with friends is a common way for students to get a break from the stress of the school day or grab a small snack for lunch. However, this year administration has been fighting back against these students and has been tightening their grasp on students who leave.
Students are not allowed to leave campus during the day due to liability issues with the school. “We technically are your ‘parents’ when you’re at school and are responsible for you,” said Mr. Wally Baranyk, Safety and Security Specialist at Oakton. This means if something were to happen to the student when they’re supposed to be in school, the school would be held responsible for this. “We do try to make every reasonable effort to keep students on campus because we are responsible for you,” Mr. Baranyk said. Of course, staff also encourages students to remain in school in order to work on their school work and education.
Recently, staff have been taking further measures to prevent students from leaving. There have been more sightings of security staff guarding the exits to the parking lots during lunches, Cougar Times, and advisories to prevent students from leaving, and more detentions have been handed out. There has also been a stronger push for students to remain in classes at Cougar Time to prevent wandering and potentially leaving the school. Staff is also stationed at various locations within the school to move students into classrooms and supervise doors.
The school has implemented the use of security cameras in the parking lots to make sure students stay on campus as well. “If we have a teacher, for example, who calls and reports ‘I saw a car load of students leaving, we can often times find that student on the video, identify the driver, and then deal with the student,” Mr. Baranyk said.
Administration has also come up with solutions for students who lurk in the hallways during Cougar Time or are caught leaving. “Students that have parking permits also risk losing their parking privilege for some number of days as well, so it’s to their advantage to stay on campus,” Mr. Baranyk said. They have also implemented a new solution to keep students within the school in classrooms, especially during Cougar Time. “Those that are lagging behind, purposely avoiding us, or would rather sit in the hallway, we are now moving towards a detention room. We are documenting all students and if their appearance there are consistent then they fall into the progressive disciplinary category,” said Mr. Baranyk. The specific disciplinary actions that students are susceptible to are specifically highlighted in the FCPS Student Rights and Responsibilities packet (see: pages 17-20).
If students continue to leave during the school day, administration may have to resort to further security measures to keep students in the building. However, administration and the security staff feels like they have been doing a good job enforcing the rules. “It’s not a prison, there are 14 doors. If a student is determined to leave campus they likely can ‘escape’ so to speak, but we do try to make every reasonable effort to get folks on campus because we are responsible for you,” Mr. Baranyk said.