Hall pass regulations tightened to prevent fire alarms

By Annika Prom, Lifestyle Editor

Staff and administration now require students to sign out on a sheet when using a hall pass during class time. They enacted this measure in response to the four fire alarms set off in January, none of which were attributed to an actual fire.

Fire alarms rang on Jan. 10, 11, 23 and 24. The latter two occurred during first semester finals testing.

The source of the first alarm remains unknown due to the fire department prematurely dismissing the alarm.

The second and third ones were triggered by the same boys’ bathroom sensor. At that point, administration could not determine if something set off that sensor or if it was faulty. However, Interim Principal Greg Schellenberg found a relation between these three most recent alarms after the fourth rang.

“The fourth one was the next day from a different boys’ bathroom, which then let us know that it’s not a sensor problem, but it is something that’s going on in the boys’ bathrooms that’s tripping the alarms,” Schellenberg said.

Despite the connection, the actual cause of these alarms remains uncertain.

In a discussion with faculty, it was collectively decided to attach a sign-out procedure with taking hall passes to keep a better record of students who are in the hallways during class. Schellenberg has also increased monitoring of activities and whereabouts near bathroom entrances.

Schellenberg said he has also talked to the Snohomish County Fire Department about the “overall system,” which includes bathroom sensors and heat sensors. He has met with safety and security workers from the school district. Additionally, administration has looked into camera installation for extra surveillance.

These measures aim to also prevent class time being taken away from students.

“The bigger problem is the overall disruption to the classes, especially finals,” Schellenberg said. “It was frustrating and students, staff, were all frustrated. Particularly at that last one that was mid-final. People are mad. We want to solve the alarm problem without disrupting any more classes.”

On the whiteboard in his office, Schellenberg’s agenda calls for developing “tighter protocols” for building evacuations.

“[Evacuations have] gotten lax. It’s not tight like it should be in a safety evacuation,” he said.