Keeping Bethpage High School Safe at All Times


I’m sure we can all recall a time we have forgotten something at home from school. Maybe it was a binder, your phone, or your lunch. Whatever it was, when your parent or sibling comes up to the school to drop it off, they are stopped immediately at the front desk, and have to leave your belongings there. They cannot step any further into the building, unless they wish to obtain a visitors pass and go through every step there is to ensure the safety of the school’s staff and its pupils.

Whereas this is unfortunately understandable and a much-needed system in this day and age of school violence, it raises an entire new question: what about local election days?

The aux gym is closed off during the school day as people walk in and out of the building to vote, but classes are still in session. Students still attend school that day like any other day. Why? If our parents aren’t allowed to step at most fifteen feet into the building with good reason of dropping off a school book, then why are complete strangers  allowed to step fully into our building to vote? Yes, they must enter through the back and are not allowed past the aux gym in the high school, but somebody with a weapon can easily make it past and has full access to the building thereafter.

Governor Cuomo recently issued a blanket pardon allowing 24,000 parolees the right to go into school buildings and vote after 7 pm; however, there is a possibility students may still be present in the building. Further, parolees include convicted sex offenders and pedophiles.

So, what do our parents and other citizens of Bethpage have to go through in order to obtain a visitors pass?

“They must leave their license and get it scanned,” Mrs. Tobi, who works at our front desk in the afternoons, said. According to Mrs. Tobi, the security desk then holds onto the license and gives the visitor a sticker stating they are a guest in the building.

Most times, hypothetically, if a parent is at the building for an appointment with a guidance counselor, they must call in advance to make an appointment and make that clear at the front desk. New York State is one of the eighteen states that doesn’t require ID to vote, so who’s to say past convicts have no fear in breaking the law again and walking in during school hours to vote and possibly put staff and students at risk? Also, whereas it is reasonable for any guardian to have to go through such strenuous tasks to get into the building, why is it easier for mass amounts of people to be able to enter the building, while all we can do is cross our fingers, and hope for the best?

Tony Levy, a junior here at Bethpage High School, is a part of our school’s kickline team. Their practices can sometimes go late.

“The latest we’ve gone was 6:30” he said, which cuts it very close. Further, all because the students were dismissed at 6:30, doesn’t mean everyone left the building by then.  Kickline has practice every Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Thursday, September 13th was a Governor’s primary election day, and schools were open. Tony had kickline practice that day.

It is also known that after the school day, while there is still security, there is minimal coverage. Hallways and areas by doors are much more vacant, which can slow down reaction time, as a security guard may be in the opposite end of the building when something may happen, or be outnumbered/overpowered.

The best solution to this problem is to either have citizens vote in the firehouse, a VFW hall, at the Community Center across the street, or to simply have no school on election days that involve our schools. Not only does this promote the safety of the school’s staff and students, but it does justice by our parents or siblings not being able to step more than fifteen feet into the building to drop off a school book.