Assistant principal offers insight into doors being locked in morning

Emilia McLeod, Chief Social Media and Web Editor

A big topic amongst Monroe students is the trek to the main doors each morning. Rain or shine, hot or cold, all students must walk to the only doors that are unlocked at the beginning of the day —  the main doors and the back door. However, what is the reasoning behind this choice? Are students’ frustrations justified or completely misdirected?

We met with Jen Furkas, assistant principal at Monroe High School, to get some insight into why each of the other doors, which are closer to students’ cars, remain closed.

Furkas began with two big reasons: student safety and security.

“One (reason is) for students’ safety. When kids park in the parking lot, if they’re not coming in by the main entrance, they have to cross basically in front of the buses in the bus loop,” stated Furkas. “And so, it’s dark, and that’s just to avoid making sure that no students get hit by the buses. And the buses know not to go right by the main entrance.”

“The other one is just simply security,” continued Furkas. “In the morning, the only two doors that are open are the main entrance and then the door that is right by the weight room. That is simply because our student drivers are all coming through the main entrance, so we have to have someone there for security purposes to make sure that only Monroe High School students are coming in the building. And then the back door is for parent drop-offs.” 

When asked why the doors could not be unlocked and then relocked for the remainder of the day, Furkas referenced the amount of security staff. She said that there are three security guards in total, and then the deputy whose office remains at MHS.

“I don’t know that we have enough people to, I guess, monitor every single door, because we do have a lot of exterior doors. But I also don’t want to be intrusive for students either,” Furkas said. “We want to make sure that people are safe and secure, but not feel like Big Brother is watching.”

Furkas also explained that the roles each staff member plays in the morning is specific to the layout of the two doors being opened, and that this plan ensures that they can be watchful enough to know that no one is coming in who is not supposed to be there.

“One security person who’s posted at the main door, they always stand right there. Mr. (Adam) Tylenda, the dean of students, his post in the morning is by the staff entrance so that he can see the people that come in that way… Then, once you walk in through the main doors, our two social workers, and usually Mr. (Michael) Kastner, are right by the stairs that go to upper D wing. Then, if you come down the main hallway, at the bottom of the lower learning commons is where our other security person is, and then I always take upstairs… Everybody kind of has a role,” said Furkas.

Furkas did not refrain from mentioning that security in schools is very serious these days, so they feel better when they can be more watchful because only the two doors are open.

“It sucks that that’s the nature of schools now, but I think ever since… Columbine, that was like my first year of teaching, and I remember before that, anyone could basically walk into any school, anywhere, at any time,” explained Furkas. “Unfortunately, that’s our biggest concern. I know it’s a hardship for students to have to walk further, but if it prevents any sort of safety concerns for either the kids or anybody else in the building, that’s kind of a small inconvenience.”