By Anna Di Iorio-Reyes
At the beginning of December, Beacon Principal Brady Smith sent a school-wide email declaring the 7th floor “off limits” to students looking to spend their free and lunch periods there, and stating that students are also no longer allowed to eat anywhere other than the cafeteria.
This is the first time a ban this severe has been issued regarding space usage in Beacon, and according to Principal Brady it’s because of the strong disrespect of the 7th floor. “We’ve seen day after day and week after week of food waste and ball playing happening in that space, so we decided that we needed to close it down,” Brady said. The closest thing Beacon has done to this is temporarily closing down bathrooms “because they’ve been vandalized or damaged.”
The more open areas of the 7th floor are ideal places for students to congregate. Normally, it’s bustling with students lounging around on the floor doing homework or talking with friends. However, newly negative activities, such as ball playing and eating, have left the floor littered with trash and damaged items. As the severity of this mistreatment escalated, Beacon had to resort to shutting the space down. “We tried a lot of different approaches to monitor the space, keep it clean and safe,” said Brady, but because few student’s behaviors changed, they had to put restrictions on the floor to “send a message that that’s not appropriate.”
In his school-wide email, Principal Brady stated that if this behavior continues, the school’s “only option” will be to limit student’s accessibility to the spaces where that behavior takes place.
“You couldn’t even walk to the bathroom because there were so many freshmen and they’d just leave food everywhere,” said Beacon sophomore Cleo. “It was disgusting,” another student commented.
Overall, Beacon students seem to remain neutral in stance about this topic; some thought the ban was necessary, while others were peeved. On every floor there can be noticeable damage in various forms: wrappers and uneaten food, plastic bags and paper, all for someone else to clean up. However, some think deeming a whole floor off limits is a little extreme. “I don’t like it,” said Beacon student Imogene, who is one of the many people who prefer to eat lunch in the hallways instead of the cafeteria.
Neymah, another Beacon student, said that they and their friend group “can’t be in the cafeteria because we either have classes that are really far away from the cafeteria or we have literal meltdowns because of the cafeteria.” Their friend further commented on how being in the cafeteria increases his anxiety. This challenges Principal Brady’s claim of maintaining a “safe” space for students, questioning what that really means and entails.
Other students find themselves the victims of Beacon’s school-wide restriction, as they’re forced to follow the new rules simply because of the disrespectful behavior by their peers that they didn’t partake in. “We try our best and we’re very diligent with how we clean up even when there are spills. We make sure the hallway is the same way it was before, if not better,” stressed Simone, another Beacon student.
Spilled food in the 7th floor bathroom
“It’s a shame. It’s actually a really great space for students to hang out,” said Principal Brady, who hopes to re-open the space soon with “some expectations.”
“If it were respected, we wouldn’t have an issue, but because of food waste and damage from balls being kicked and thrown it just is not acceptable now,” he continued.