Franklin Steps Up Effort on Skateboard Policy

Calder Nakell, (10) performs a trick on his skateboard outside the theater. Several locations around Franklin have become viable skate spots, and curbs in the staff parking lot have even appeared in videos. Students have expressed frustration at the prospect of not being able to skate at Franklin. Photo by Oliver Fox.

On August 30th, Franklin announced the decision to crack down on skateboards at school using a strict policy. This policy has been in effect since almost 1990, but Franklin has begun to step up their game, for safety reasons. The policy states that if a student enters the school with a skateboard, the only place they can keep it is in their locker or a staff member’s room. Should they not comply, they will be asked to put the board in their locker. Repeated violations will result in a warning, and a violation for “failure to comply with administrator instructions” followed by eventual confiscation.

The biggest issue is that some students carry larger boards, which definitely don’t fit in their locker. Even some regular sized boards don’t fit in the lockers with top and bottom dividers. One option is storing your board in a teacher’s room, but this may be difficult on days when a student doesn’t have that teacher.      

This policy has been in place for many years, but there is a renewed effort to enforce it, as there are concerns surrounding safety in the building. Vice Principal Scott Burns says “Last year, from my experience, it wasn’t really enforced… and we’re really just trying to have students understand what the expectations are that already exist.” This may come as a shock to the students who found out during the class assemblies this year, as there was little to no mention of it in last year’s class assemblies. Information regarding the policy is available in the back of the Franklin climate guide and student handbook. The policy, as presented in class assemblies, and in the Student Climate Guide states that, “[Skateboards] are considered to be a students transport to and from school and as such, they are to be used with permission of parents or guardians. They are to be stored in lockers or other designated locations during the school day and not be carried with the student or used…during the school day.” According to Burns, repeated violations will result in confiscation. Students have been given warnings already, and have been told to store them in other classrooms. Repeated violations will result in a referral for insubordination and defiance/willful disobedience.

The feedback from students who carry boards in school has been negative, as some have testified that their boards don’t fit in their lockers, yet they still rely on their boards for transport to and from school. Response from some students can be boiled down to one simple statement; “[The policy] is stupid,” says Franklin skateboarder Atticus Lane-Dupre (10). This opinion was echoed by his friend Seamus Holland (10): “I think [the policy] should be abolished, because it’s pointless.”

This policy presents some issues for skaters, and there has been no lack of skateboards in the school. The current expectation is that students figure something out, be it another mode of transportation or storing the board in someone’s room. Boards that will fit in lockers tend to run at a higher cost and less availability, so it may not be possible for some people to skate to school anymore. If the policy has the intended effect, you will see fewer boards in the hallways, and if it doesn’t, there will be no discernible change.

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