Choir Tour Safety Procedure Raises Attention

Teachers, Volunteers Tape Hotel Doors To Ensure Student Safety

Choir Tour Safety Procedure Raises Attention

Anna Johns, Staff Writer

Most Blake students, at some time or another, have experienced the panicked feeling of arriving at the door in the morning and not having their key card. Students are either forced to frantically search around for another student, or be resigned to buzzing in to the office and admitting to their forgetfulness.Though time consuming, badging in is just one of Blake’s methods of ensuring the safety of its students.

Just as Blake has security at entrances to the school, the arts department has also developed a simple, yet effective way of keeping students safe during off campus trips. The choir trip has gained attention because of its unique safety strategy: placing a piece of masking tape on the students’ hotel doors at night. Although the method is unheard of by many, it is used for school trips by many other schools as well.

Hazel Deharpporte ‘19 explains  the strategy of taping the students’ doors at night by saying, “basically, there will be a certain time that is check in. We have to be in our rooms by that time and then [Ben Henschel, the choir teacher] will come by and make sure we are all there. He’ll put tape on the doors so we can’t get out because if you open the door then the tape comes off and there’s no way to put it back on from the inside. So he will know if you have gone out in the night.”

Even though this strategy appears superfluous, most students who have attended the  choir tour agree that it is an effective safety method. James Killilea ‘20, a choir student that has gone on the tour in previous years, explains that in years past, people not associated with the tour have come and “knocked on doors”, which has posed a problem for maintaining students’ safety. Killilea mentions that the students’ safety is taken very seriously on the trip, and he adds, “There are years in the past where […] I can totally see why you need that as a precaution. But it feels like, especially this year, we could be trusted to just not leave our rooms. But better safe than sorry.”

Ben Henschel, Blake’s choir teacher, offers another perspective, explaining that the safety precautions of the trip aren’t influenced by his trust in individual students. He explains, “I trust all of these students individually. I’ve been doing this for long enough where I know that the groupthink and the group mentality of closing a group of people in a room and having one room next to another room, there is a lot of temptation.” Henschel explains that taping the hotel doors ensures that students are staying honest. He believes that when students are placed in a group setting there can be collective pressure to go to other students’ hotel rooms. He uses the door tape as reassurance to the chaperones and himself that students have remained in their rooms throughout the night.

Additionally, the door tape reminds students to stay accountable and follow the school’s rules throughout the choir tour. Henschel adds, “We’re taking all sorts of security measures to make sure that when we go on the road, not only are the students safe but they are feeling accountable to behave in a way that represents the Blake school well and holds them [to] the standard that they know is theirs.”