Summit, New Jersey, schools ban unannounced visits

July 24, 2013 3:30:20 PM PDT
Students who forget lunch or homework will be out of luck in one New Jersey school district.

Summit schools are stopping unannounced visits in the interest of safety.

The district says as many as 400 people visit Summit High School daily.

In a letter to parents, school Superintendent Nathan Parker writes many visitors are parents dropping off lunches, homework, musical instruments and athletic equipment.

Parker writes that eliminating the visits will make the schools safer and teach students to be accountable.

Students who forget lunches will be fed in the cafeteria and given IOUs.

Parents will need to make appointments to see teachers and administrators. Parents also must send notes the day before in order to pick up children.

Here is the full text of the letter sent home to parents:

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we review the 2012-2013 school year and begin to prepare ourselves for 2013-2014, we have taken considerable time to reflect on our safety and security procedures throughout the district. In today's world, we, unfortunately, can never be too cautious in our efforts to protect the students and staff of Summit's Public Schools.

It is for that reason that we have examined many policies and procedures that have become part of our day-to-day culture in Summit. One such policy is the ability for parents to come and go, unannounced, in and out of the schools, for a variety of reasons throughout the day.

After speaking with principals, teachers and parents, we have come to a decision that we must eliminate as many unannounced visitors to the schools as possible. We have confirmed that as many as 400 people visit Summit High School each day. Many of them are parents who are dropping off lunches, musical instruments, athletic equipment, forgotten homework and more. The middle and elementary schools see a proportionate number of daily "drop ins" as well.

Not only will eliminating these visits help to keep the schools safer by lessening the number of individuals gaining access to the buildings, but it also will help engrain responsibility into the students and transfer the ownership to them. By forgetting lunch, homework or athletic gear once and not having it brought to them, students will learn accountability.

Beginning in September 2013:

Dr -Drop offs will not be permitted at any of the schools. If students forget their lunch, IOU's will be issued; no child will go hungry.

-Appointments must be made to see teachers, administrators and other staff.

-Notes for picking up children must be submitted the day before to the attendance secretary at the middle or high school and to the classroom teacher at the elementary level. If you forget to send a note, please call the main office before you come to retrieve your child.

We recognize that these procedures will affect the way we have become accustomed to interacting with the schools and that the concept of "dropping in" has become second nature in the Summit community. We know that habits are difficult to break, which is why we are thankful for your cooperation of this very important policy change. Please know that we are not trying to limit the communication or interaction between home and school, as we recognize their importance. We do, however, have a responsibility to put the safety of our students foremost.

Many thanks,

Dr. Nathan Parker
Superintendent of Schools