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Students push back against new locked doors policy

Students and faculty enter the Theater Entrance on Thursday, May 17. (Photo by Lilah Gentry)

Students petitioned principal Henry Turner last week to repeal the new policy requiring all doors other than the Main Entrance and the Theater Entrance to be open only between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m..
North implemented the policy, previously announced in an email from Principal Henry Turner, on Wednesday, May 2. Turner said that although the school “wants to preserve the culture of student independence, given recent national events and conversations, we will be taking several actions in the next few weeks.”
In response to the policy, sophomores Dina Gorelik and Sophia Zhou wrote an open letter to Turner requesting postponement of the policy. Gorelik said, “we were acting as SFA representatives voicing the concerns of students.” They collected over 200 signatures of support from students.
In the letter to Turner, Gorelik and Zhou raised concerns about the negative effects of locking the doors and the lack of student input in making the decision.
“The decision to lock all but two of the entrances to the school will impact the open campus culture that is such an integral part of the student life,” they wrote. “More importantly, why weren’t more students consulted before the decision was made? From our understanding, during the two largest student conversations, students expressed opposition to the idea of closing entrances.”
Gorelik and Zhou urged Turner to “postpone the decision to lock the doors and have a school-wide conversation,” adding, “we strongly believe this is not the right decision.”
According to senior Carrieanne Mamba, navigating the new policy “can be a hassle. Students are so used to going to Newtonville, and now it is harder for that to happen. The people fighting this do have a point and there is an argument to be made.”
However, Superintendent David Fleishman said the locked doors policy was a step in the right direction, especially given the limitations of the building. “I think it is a reasonable measure and hopefully it will satisfy people. It’s just not possible to close every door. That’s not the way the school is designed, nor is there the room in the school to have every student inside the school at all times.”
Instead of locking the doors, Gorelik added, the North Community should focus on mental health issues and clearer lockdown procedures. Specifically, Gorelik said North needs a “better counseling department that kids would feel comfortable going to,” and “active shooter drills drafted for each classroom so students would know exactly what to do.”
After meeting with Turner last week, Gorelik said, “I’m feeling hopeful. We just gave him the signatures and he was a little taken back at first, but we made it clear we just wanted to have a conversation. Because this is a major decision that is going to affect the whole entire student body whether they really realize it or not yet.”
Sophia Zhou is an editor-in-chief of The Newtonite. Her actions reflect her personal views and do not represent the official stance of The Newtonite as a publication. 

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