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POLL: Closed Campus Policy at Joel Barlow

Principal Tom McMorran sent out an email blast last week reminding parents that Joel Barlow High School is a closed campus, and students caught leaving might face repercussions.

Some high school students are old enough to vote in elections and die for their country. 

But per current policy, they're not allowed to leave campus during the school day without permission from the administration. 

In an email sent out to the Barlow community last week, reminded parents that they should talk to their kids in order to avoid any possible consequences resulting from violating this policy. 

"If your son or daughter is driving to Barlow, and has parking privileges, please be advised that students may not leave campus during the school day without express permission from the administration," McMorran wrote in the email. "If a student is found off campus, he or she might lose parking privileges without refund, and/or receive other disciplinary actions."

McMorran also said the high school administration is working with the Redding Police Department. Consequences of leaving campus could include tickets as well. 

"Cruisers might be posted on Turney Road, and tickets could be issued to students who are off campus without permission if students are exceeding the speed limit or transporting other students in violation of progressive driving license rules," McMorran wrote.

McMorran told Patch that Barlow has never had an open campus.

"Barlow has always had a closed campus. We will never have an open campus," he said. "That is simply too dangerous for the students and our community."

McMorran said the school deals with students who attempt to sneak off campus almost on a daily basis.

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"Students who are caught are generally trying to get back on campus," he said. "They receive a suitable consequence depending on a few factors. It could be loss of driving privileges for a set amount of time, or loss of their parking permit. without refund. Or they might be assigned community service."

At a Board of Education meeting last month in Ridgefield, . Ridgefield High School has had an open campus policy in the past, but currently it has the same closed-campus policy as Barlow.

Ridgefield High School Student Body President Allie Schiffer spoke to the Board of Education at that meeting. 

"We see this as an opportunity to encourage responsibility," Schiffer said, "not to encourage negative behavior."

The model proposed by Ridgefield students depended on a variety of factors including parental approval, a minimum GPA of 2.5, senior status and a minimum number of tardies and unexcused absences.

McMorran said Barlow is concerned with supervision of its students. 

"Our deep and abiding concern is to prevent students from heading to unsupervised homes during the day," he said. 

—Michael Gibney contributed to this story.

Susanne Krivit May 14, 2012 at 01:43 PM
I would be aginst an open campus at Barlow because I have a specific concern about the safety of the students, and that is Route 58. Cross walks were installed last year but the road is dangerous and walking from the school to The Redding Ridge Market is still accomplished by walking along the margin of the road - which is non-existent in places. If students were allowed to leave the school during the day there would be the possibility of kids walking on Route 58 all day, and that is dangerous as far as I am concerned.
Chris Cross May 14, 2012 at 05:49 PM
An open campus policy seems completely unnecessary. I might feel differently if the school did not have a cafeteria that sells food, but as far as I'm aware, they do. As an alumnus of Ridgefield High, I can tell you that it's been a long, long time since they had an open campus policy. I think we're talking the late 1970's. The question I have is why do the students think that an open campus would be a good policy? Where would they be going anyway? With class periods of 45 minutes or so, that's not a whole lot of time to go much of anywhere. Hey kids, it's cool to stay in school. This time is going by a lot faster than you think.
sentientalumni May 14, 2012 at 07:38 PM
As an alumni who constantly left and came back, the ability to do so had no reprocussions or detrimental effect on my education or development as a person. The fear based restrictions only serve to avoid handling problems which a minority of students would engage in. This is a classic preemptive inductive fallacy, if we let all students leave as they please, naturally there will be more problems and safety issues than if no students are allowed to leave. Barlow, expansions aside, is still a institution of excellence....which continually tries to limit the acceleration of its students characters. Let them learn, stop wasting resources, and deal with those that over-reach the prviledges bestowed on them.
Citizen May 15, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Your comment just set English spelling and grammar back 300 years. Perhaps all that leaving campus did have an impact.
Laura December 19, 2012 at 11:37 PM
i tried to sign my own son out for his lunch period today when I was at the school and was told I would not be allowed. I'm his Mother ! I agree with Kids not just leaving the campus, but if I parent wants to sign out there kid, how can the school deny them?

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