Locked Gates

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Locked Gates

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Everyday, when the last bell rings at 3:00 p.m. and students are released from school, they have about five to ten minutes to exit through the front gate. By 3:15, both the north and northwest gate near the 1800 building are locked.

In previous years, it was not protocol to lock both gates but this year the assistant principal, Natalie Quinonez, and administration have changed the school’s policies and rules.

“We are trying to secure the campus and keep everyone safe,” says Quinonez. “We don’t want kids loitering around campus without supervision. We want to know where everyone is.”

The new policy for locking gates goes hand in hand with the new traffic policies and parking rules. Quinonez wanted to assist the needs of the parents who drive their kids to school as well as for the student drivers. These new set of rules, she believes, answers those needs. According to Quinonez, she and the school want to help better serve the community.

They represent the parents of Tolleson by creating a new drop-off/pick-up system and specific student-teacher parking that will help benefit everyone’s needs. “We want people, especially students and parents, to know that they are being heard. That’s what we’re here for,” she says.

The issue with the locked gates is to encourage students, who have no reason to be on campus after school to leave campus as soon as possible.

Students who are caught between 3:15 and 4:00 must walk all the way down to the west side of campus to leave school. In contrast to students who stay after school for tutoring or athletics, there is a security guard at 4:00 near the 1800 building to unlock the gate for students to exit the school.

Though it might seem a bit tedious to lock the gates and re-open them within the same hour, the campus stays safe. Leaving it open would allow anyone to be on campus, which is ultimately what Quinonez and the administration are trying to avoid.

Locking the gates has brought about positive feedback and is likely to stay as a policy here at Tolleson Union High School.