Stuyvesant Alters After-School Rule Due to Safety Concerns

Stuyvesant weighs in on the necessity and limitations of the recent security addition.

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By Mirei Ueyama

Stuyvesant’s administration recently implemented an addition to a rule on students returning for after-school clubs. This modified rule now requires students to scan their ID upon their return to the school building before 4:00 p.m. and strictly prohibits students from returning after 4:00 p.m.

The rule was enacted due to rising safety concerns after a series of threats followed by a two-period-long shelter-in on October 26. “We are responsible for supervising students during after-school activities, and for safety reasons, want to limit the coming and going from the building, which is why we require students return for clubs before 4:00 p.m.,” Assistant Principal of Safety and Security and Physical Education Brian Moran said in an e-mail interview.

The rule was first introduced through e-mail as a part of a weekly update newsletter and has been posted at the entrance of the school since, as well as on the transit board near the entrance throughout the school day. Despite the popular belief that this rule is new, it is only an amendment to an existing rule that was previously not commonly enforced. “The procedure for returning for after-school clubs is not new. The new addition is requiring students to scan their ID upon their return. Students must have their ID or temporary ID that was issued that day to enter the school,” Moran said.

Since its creation, many students have criticized this rule, claiming that the implementation was unclear. “I understand that the shelter-in and the incidents along with that were sudden and we didn’t really have any of those last year, but at the same time, it was a super sudden change,” junior Eugene Guo said. “If they sent an e-mail—and I don’t know if they did—they probably sent it in a weekly update that no one has the time to read. I feel like it would’ve been better if they sent a large-scale e-mail to everyone.”

Many students learned about the rule from being blocked from re-entering first-hand. “I walk into the building at literally 4:01 p.m. and get stopped by the security guard,” senior Claire Duguet said. “He goes, ‘If you have an issue, take it up with Mr. Moran, bye now.’ So there was nothing left for me to do but turn around and go home despite having a club to direct.” Stuyvesant security guards declined to comment on the situation.

Similarly, sophomore Brandon Waworuntu was denied entry as he was unaware of the new rule. “I found out about it because I went out of the building to do a project for [Global History] and I was gonna go to an Animal Association meeting and when I went in, they said to me, ‘Look at the sign.’ It said that I can’t be let in after 4 p.m.,” Waworuntu said.

While the policy has gained notoriety among the student body, the majority of students recognize that its implementation as a safety precaution is well-intentioned. “After the large shelter-in for the whole day, Moran decided to propose this rule where you can’t go out after 4:00 p.m. [...] I understand it’s for safety,” Guo said.

Some students even agree with the rule, claiming that re-entry is unnecessary. “There is no reason for anyone to be coming back to the school after four. [The rule] has not affected me, probably because our practice ends before four anyway,” senior and captain of the boys’ table tennis team Max Yenlee said.

However, other students still question the necessity of the rule in reducing safety concerns. “You already have security guards waiting at the front desk, you already have people sitting at the scanners checking students,” senior Fu Chen said. “Why do you need excessive [measures]?”

In addition, students who participate in after-school activities that end later are disproportionately impacted by the rule. These students have expressed that the policy impacted their performance and productivity. “Especially when you have clubs that last a long time like robotics or sports teams, you leave really late and you can’t leave the school or anything. So you’re just gonna starve if you have [an] early lunch,” Guo said. “In Science Olympiad, we stay rather late, until eight on nights that are really important. We don’t get fed because we don’t pay as much for dues as robotics, and as a result of that, a lot of us just sit there and [get] hungry. I stay at school really late, I’m hungry, I can’t leave school, and I want coffee. It’s something that negatively impacts me.”

Many students also express discontent with the short time frame between the end of the school day and the cutoff to re-entering the building. “I’m not the biggest fan of the cutoff being 4:00 p.m. That gives me less than 30 minutes to go get something to eat before all my after-school activities,” senior Jonathan Feng said. “It’s more reasonable to have kept [the cutoff for re-entry] at 5:00 p.m. when clubs end, but even 4:30 p.m. would’ve been more reasonable,”

Duguet echoes this sentiment. “Between 3:35 and 4:00, students really don’t have time to get food or anything outside the building, so they’d pretty much be forced to stay inside,” she said.

While many students disagree with the rule, they have been forced to adapt. “I’ll just work around it. I used to sometimes get a quick snack before a meeting but now I don’t do that because I don’t wanna miss it. [...] It’s not that big [of an impact],” Waworuntu said.

Ultimately, there is a consensus that there should have been clearer communication with staff and students regarding the specifics of the rule. “Students had no warning that this would be implemented, so they could’ve explained it better before it was implemented,” junior Melody Huang said.