The 2023-2024 school year began with a multitude of new policies and protocols for Ukiah High Wildcats. We met with Principal Analese Alvarez to get insight into the new policies at Ukiah High School and why campus leaders put the policies into effect.
First, we asked questions regarding the rules governing the parking lot. Many students wanted to understand why they could not go back into their parking spots, a move favored by Wildcats with large vehicles like trucks and Jeeps.
Dr. Alvarez said, “It was a rule before Covid and we’re just reinforcing it.” She also said the rule was put into place to address issues with the flow of traffic.
We also asked Dr. Alvarez what led to the requirement for student IDs when entering and exiting campus. She claimed that students have IDs because there are 1,600 students on campus, with nearly 600 being Freshmen.
The IDs are important for administrators and supervisors so they can differentiate between Wildcats. For example, only freshmen have yellow backgrounds on their IDs. Stickers also help tell who can leave and who can’t in a faster, more efficient way. Once again it is mainly for student safety. She said, “The student passes are so we know who is a student and who is a stranger on campus. It’s mainly so we can help keep the students safe overall.”
We asked whether the fence had prevented students from leaving to skip class. Dr. Alvarez made clear that the fence is not intended to stop students from leaving the campus, but is meant to keep students safe by keeping “bad people” off of campus.
Dr. Alvarez addressed questions about how the fence could influence the number of students getting into physical altercations. She stated that she does not believe the fence has had a negative or positive effect on the fighting rates at Ukiah High. She did give space to the idea that the feeling of being trapped could lead to more fights but said no students have cited that while being disciplined for fighting.
She assured that regardless of the number of physical altercations between students, tools like suspension and expulsion are available to address those issues.
Many students around campus have addressed concerns about the new rules prohibiting them from accessing their cars between classes. She told us that students cannot access their cars because there are no supervisors in the parking lot. She also reminded students they have lockers to store their belongings so that is what they should be using rather than their personal vehicles.