RM ramps up hallway security measures


Isabella Langlee

RM regularly uses hall sweeps between periods to give detention to students that do not make it to class on time.

Aisosa Ojo-Odiase, News Writer

In response to recent increases in drug and gun-related incidents, MCPS announced on April 12 that it would introduce security updates, including the countywide enforcement of student ID badges. These have already been in use at RM, as well as in a few other schools, such as Walter Johnson. 

RM’s administration has also started to closely track hallway passes to keep students from wandering in hallways during class, but these measures do not appear to be properly implemented and even disregarded by students. “I think that enforcing the hall pass is definitely a good idea. I don’t know how long people are gonna respect that, because I know I’ve seen people just leaving without passes and not listening to their teachers,” senior Allie Liberman said.

Exterior bathroom doors have also been kept open at all times. “Personally, I never get my pass checked and I always see a lot of kids without a pass. But I think that it’s good that more bathrooms are open,” freshman Jasmine Jefferson said. “I think that it’s good that more bathroom doors are left open… just to let security see what’s going on.”

Other students disagree. “I don’t think having the bathroom doors open and locking some of the doors does or changes anything because there seems to be no problem in the bathrooms to begin with,” freshman Boyana Peychinova said. 

School bathrooms have been a common place for students to engage in dangerous behavior—such as January’s shooting at Magruder High School. “[Bathroom doors being open] is a response to concerns that we’ve had around safety [there],” 11th grade assistant principal Veena Roberson said. “Unfortunately there have been incidents this year at Richard Montgomery and at other high schools where safety of students has really been compromised with what’s occurring in bathrooms.” 

There are mixed responses to the new policy for IDs. Some students think that using IDs is a good idea. “I think the IDs do work but they should also have something else in place for around the campus like the parking lot,” Jefferson said. 

Meanwhile, other students think the cards could be a good thing but are not used properly. “I think [the ID cards] would help. However, I do think security does a bad job of checking them. Today I walked into school without showing my ID card because there was no security guard there,” sophomore Coby Ritter said. “If the ID cards implemented it right it will go well but that takes effort.”

“I think it is a minimally intrusive solution to a pretty important problem,” sophomore Alex Gao said. “I feel like administration needs to do a better job of explaining the rationale behind the things they’re doing.”

Ms. Roberson provided some administrative rationale. “The purpose of ID cards is to ensure that when a student enters into the building, that they are a student that belongs in the building. So that is a Richard Montgomery High School student, maybe a Julius West student who’s taking a class here, or a student from another school that’s taking a class here,” she said. 

However, RM’s administration is also considering making changes to the appearance of IDs between school years. “We’re talking about creating an ID next year that looks different from this year’s ID,” Ms. Roberson said. “Maybe a vertical ID as opposed to horizontal. And then we loop back after three years so that we know what those years are supposed to look like.”