Coats in the Hallway: Good or Bad?

Victorianna Beels and Shane Sellers

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From the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, policies had begun to be enforced more than in previous years. One of these newly enforced policies is wearing coats throughout the halls at L’Anse Creuse High School- North (LCN). Going into the 2018-2019 school year, many students were fully aware of the winter to come and the aggressively enforced policy of no coats in the hallways. This newly forced policy made many students begin to question for what reason and why now.

First and foremost, why are the coats an issue? Many staff members say that the coats are an issue because coats make it easier way to hide weapons and sneak them into the building. For example, the Columbine high school massacre in 1999 involved Eric Harris and Dylan Kelbold dressing in trench coats and murdering 13 people and injuring 20 more. These trench coats made it much easier for the students to sneak the weapons into the school grounds and into the school. Because of this event back in 1999, schools are a no go for coats. “If someone is determined to shoot up a school, then a coat ban isn’t going to stop them. To single out coats is pretty pointless when you could wear a variety of different outfits that could easily hide a weapon,” Jaden Strait ‘20 says.

While many students have a reasonable gripe against the winter coat policy, the school acted in a way to keep kids safe. Besides, an extra hoodie or a spring jacket over the top of existing clothing is allowed in school. Mr. Poljanic said, “In terms of safety, oftentimes illicit objects are found in coats and backpacks.”

Think of any professional sporting event that you go to where there is expected to be thousands of people in attendance. Are you allowed to just walk in wearing a ginormous winter coat without inspection? The answer is a giant NO. You are expected to wait in line, to pass through a security checkpoint. The guards know you don’t pose a threat to others because the metal detector didn’t detect any metal on you; however, the school cannot waste time or money on security staff checking EVERY student that walks in the door.

You don’t hear anyone complaining about having to wait in what can seem like a 15 minute wait at times just to pass through security. So why complain now? This is no different of a scenario. The difference here is that rather than checking every student for weapons, it is much more convenient to just require large coats, which can conceal contraband, to be put away.

Another reason for large coats being kept in lockers is the amount of space they take up. In a classroom, these large puffy coats are not easy to fold and often stick out into the cramped aisle ways between the desks. Mr. Poljanic said, “In an emergency, they can be tripped over and become a hazard.”

Mr. Poljanic wanted students to remember, “In a business environment, it would be acceptable if you were a landscaper but not in an office.”

To keep it simple, Mr. Poljanic said, “If it’s puffy, it’s an exterior coat.”

 

Sure, you can hide weapons in coats, but you can also hide weapons in many other places that are allowed to be in school. Many students around LCN are seen wearing large, oversized sweatshirts and baggier clothes. These baggy clothes most often are heavy and large enough that you could easily hide a weapon in them. Another commonly seen item around the school are instrument cases. Instrument cases for our band members are thick, bulky, and made of hard, grey plastic. As it sounds, these cases are shaped like the instruments that go inside of them. Many of these cases are large enough to fit a weapon and firm enough to not change shape due to whatever item is inside, yet when students bring these cases into the school, nobody questions what is inside of these cases when students carry them into and throughout the school. Even things that many students are allowed to carry around like Case-it Zip Binders (the thick, material three ring binders with the zipper down the side). These binders are thick and large enough to fit a weapon as well.

So many objects that we carry around the school with us are suitable to hide and carry a weapon into the security of the school. If this is true, then why only coats? Mrs. Kahl, a teacher at LCN states, “They are trying to keep a line between what is considered outerwear and what is not. Recently, they have been cracking down on big coats and bags because they may be considered distractions. Huge hoodies make it less likely to hide things, but kids are more likely to hide things like vape devices and weapons in their coat pockets.”