Doorway Doomsday

Don’t blame the security guards.


By Sam Boyar

This September, many students were alarmed to find that the doors on the east side of Garfield had been blocked off. These concerns were elevated when Mr. Howard announced at the first assembly of the year that anyone who went through the doors would be given Saturday school. This has left many wondering what’s happening with Garfield’s security policies, but the answer may be more complicated than anyone imagined.
Mr. Blanton, one of the assistant principals and one of the faculty responsible for deciding Garfield’s security policies, explained that the door policies have technically already existed for some time.
“These policies are not new,” Blanton said. “At the start of this school year, we put up barriers so that students do not exit out the east side doors. We wanted to emphasize entering and exiting out the front door, so we can better monitor who is coming in and out of the building and keep us all safe.”
As the Garfield librarian, Mr. Manzin has a close relationship with school security, and was able to offer some valuable insight about the subject.
“I feel like the importance of security has elevated over time,” Manzin said. “A year and a half ago when an incident came up here at school, we were promised by the district to get security doors that would allow entry to individuals that were part of the community via a secured badge. That has not happened, so it’s really constrained our options in the building.”
Without the key card security system, Garfield has been forced to close all side doors to both entry and exit. Manzin believes that the current stopgap solution has made it harder for faculty to do their jobs.
“A lot of times when we’re just trying to come and go from the building it’s much more difficult,” Mr. Manzin said. “Access is pretty much denied after school hours even though the expectation of a teacher is that you work hours beyond the school day. It hampers teachers’ ability to get things done, [and] I also think it hampers having a wider community be a part of our building.”
Though a keycard entry system would allow Garfield to reopen all of its doors, the district has repeatedly pushed back the installation date.
“We are always getting promised that the security doors are coming. The date was pushed back from October of last year to now, and we still don’t know when they will arrive,” Mr. Manzin said. “That has been a bit frustrating, and I think with the security doors we could see a lot of our other security issues be eliminated.”
This puts Garfield’s security team in a difficult position, but Mr. Manzin is confident that they’re doing all they can.
“I think the security staff is great, the way they interact with students is amazing,” Manzin said. “They have personal relationships [with students] which I think is the key to creating a safe environment.”
“Every one of us in the building plays a role at keeping Garfield safe,” Vice-principal Blanton added. “We are a community that needs to watch out for one another. Report any threats or unusual situations to the appropriate staff member, and take all the safety drills seriously because you never know when we could be in a real emergency.”

Art by Sam