Clearing The Confusion of the Closed Campus Controversy

Lucy Scorziello, Reporter, Radio Director

On Tuesday, September 14, 2021, Stamford High School students attempting to leave the building for lunch were met with an obstacle they hadn’t previously faced, which caused some speculation amongst the student body as to why. The exits to the parking lot, as well as Strawberry Hill Avenue, were monitored by security guards and other faculty members, keeping students in. This caused a variety of reactions throughout Stamford High School, particularly among the senior class.

Many students were entirely caught off guard, for this is something that they’ve never been faced with before; an open campus policy for seniors was instituted in 2019 prior to the pandemic.

Secdurity guard Miguel Gomez directs a group of students back into the building Wednesday. (Lucy Scorziello)

“I was going to the parking lot the other day and I was talking to the security guards and Mr. Passamano came over and told me to go back to class” said junior Alexandra Butler.

This was a common occurrence for other students of all grade levels. “I got yelled at for trying to leave campus and go get Dunkin’ Donuts” said sophomore Ben Coutant.

Going to the cafeteria has made some students uncomfortable as well, because of the lack of social distancing, and they feel that eating in the lot is a safer option. “The lunchroom is a cesspool,” said senior Archie Shanley. “I don’t want to get COVID so I go to my car”, Shanley said.

Despite the increased security, some SHS students have found new ways to leave campus. These include and are not limited to going through the woods, climbing both over and under fences, and running. Some students have ordered food to be delivered to campus.

Since campus departures were not as consistently enforced in the past, many students didn’t even realize the campus was now closed. The situation has also led to speculations amongst the student body. Rumors spread as to why this new approach to enforcing the existing closed campus policy has been taken.

“I heard there was a fight, a kid got jumped at Dunkin’ Donuts or something” senior Olivia Laccona said.

Coutant said he assumed the same. “I heard this is happening because kids are getting in trouble across the street,” he said.

Although some students feel something is being taken away, Principal Matthew Forker said that this is a misunderstanding.

“We’ve never had an open campus per se…that doesn’t mean people don’t take liberties” he said. He said that he wants to find a common ground and that “there’s a lot of legal logistics involved with this, the number one thing being safety.” Forker added, “I’m really not trying to minimize you guys or put the shackles on you guys. I think you guys have earned it to have some liberties.”

Students have also thought about alternatives to make a compromise in this situation. “I think if we could get a waiver to sign or something that lets our parents say that they can let us leave the school, then I think we should be able to,” said Shanley.

Principal Forker has a similar idea of finding middle ground on this issue. He said, “If there was a way to do it logically, I’m not opposed to bringing in some type of flexibility for seniors. I just have to figure out logistically how that will work”.

Forker said his goal is not to punish students, more especially the senior class, because he feels that they’ve been punished enough for the last 18 months. “I feel your high school experience has been butchered because of COVID, so if there’s something I could do so you [seniors] can feel like you’ve earned something, I’m all for it” he said.

“You could be getting a cup of coffee, you could be getting a cheeseburger or a piece of pizza, and you think that’s perfectly fine, but that becomes a me problem” Forker said.

Perhaps together this can be an us solution.