The Fence.

The Fence.

There’s been a new development around Gig Harbor High School’s campus: a giant chain link fence surrounding the perimeter. It popped up rather quickly and has caught many students by surprise, leaving many of them wondering why the fence is there and what it has to contribute.

As it turns out, Peninsula High School will also be getting a very similar fence, and this has been the plan for years. “The community, the parents, staff, teachers, everyone that comes to the school board—they all voted they want more push for safety in our schools, and you’re going to see a lot of that,” our security guard, Moose, explained. Those improvements have included the hiring of new security guards this year, as well as many more cameras at our school and Peninsula High School. “We and the district have taken a lot of measures when it comes to improving safety and security for all the schools.” The fence is meant to deter anyone with ill intentions and act as a barrier against outside threats. Mrs. Suiter explained, “There could be bears; it keeps the bears out. There could be homeless people; it keeps the homeless people out.”

Despite the improvements to security, there has been an uproar about the fence. “I think it makes our school look janky. It used to be, ‘Oh, we’re surrounded by the forest,’ and now it’s just metal,” Zoey Nichols (11) said. David Rogers (11) stated, “It’s ugly, and it hides the natural beauty of the forest that surrounds us. I’m sure there’s a reason; I just don’t know what the reason is. Safety? From what?” Henry Davis (11) agreed with Rogers. He also mentioned, “There’s gaps in the fence. Anyone can walk around or climb over it easily. It’s not actually doing anything, but it makes it look secure.” Sofia Simmonds (11) expressed extreme frustration with the fence that blocks athletes from the track: “I am quite peeved.”

On the other hand, Jacquelyn Oelke (10) explained, “I think it’s an important safety aspect to the Gig Harbor community. I think it’s a little annoying that we can’t get to the track that easily, but I understand the purpose of having the fence.” Clarabelle Simmonds (9) expressed appreciation for the fence around the parking lot, claiming that  it was keeping garbage out of the woods, which was one of the aspects that the administration was hopeful the fence would provide. “The idea for the new fence makes sense. I get that they want to keep us safe and keep the bad stuff out, but it is slightly inconvenient at times.”

Moose explained that sometimes, in these situations, the pros outweigh the cons, and it’s more important to have a barrier and a deterrent surrounding the perimeter than ease for students to be able to go back and forth between their classes and activities as efficiently as possible. “The funny thing with safety and security is that it doesn’t always mirror up with convenience.” He addressed all the students who come from Henderson Bay for classes and atheletes, “So, some of the things to keep in mind are: just give yourself a little bit more time if you need to go in between different areas. It might be a little inconvenient when it comes to gaining access to other areas you want to get to, but it’s just kind of some of the things we have to deal with.”

Mrs. Suiter expressed delight in the recent development. “It’s been a dream in terms of being able to put something like that up, and while there’s some initial inconvenience, I would just say, when you’re looking at ‘what are the easy things that we can do to provide safety and security that aren’t so cost prohibitive that it’s going to just drive the budget that will be so complicated,’ the fence was one of the easiest things for us to do just to keep you guys safe. There’s this perimeter now. It was something that was just a dream of ours for the last few years, and I’m super excited that it came to be.”