Any student at Greenbrier High School for the past two years who has had anything stolen from his or her locker, or who has gotten in trouble for something illegal found in that locker, might have the school to thank.
Neither school officials nor system administrators seem too worried that a master key to the school's 1,800 lockers floated around in student hands for at least two years - time in which an untold amount of mischief could have taken place.
The incident that brought this all to light was a bizarre plot by five students to ensnare a fellow student. Using the locker key - which one of the five students says he got two years ago from another student - another of the five planted pills in the girl's locker, while another went to the office to report having seen the drugs.
When the drugs were then found in the locker, the accused student was kicked out of school to await a hearing. After two missed school days, she was cleared - and the five juvenile plotters were instead charged.
The good news here is that Greenbrier officials deserve praise for quickly getting to the bottom of a very serious incident, averting damage to an innocent student's academic career.
Also, the incident once again proves the value of video surveillance cameras. In 2003, video footage helped capture and convict a student for sexual assault at Greenbrier.
But there are plenty of black eyes in all this.
First and foremost, the behavior of the plotting five is despicable. And if any of their parents are inclined to excuse the juveniles' behavior as a mere "prank," they should remember that false accusations are so ugly that a prohibition against them is among the Ten Commandments.
Secondly, the key came from a former student who kept it after working with the JROTC to clean out the school's lockers two summers ago. The fact that the key was floating around all that time means the adult who placed it in the care of those students failed to get it back - and that failure could have been very costly for an innocent student.
With the five plotters charged and booted out of school, authorities seem to have shrugged off the idea that any other mischief with the key could have taken place. They're considering the case closed.
But that's where parents and students need to be advocates on their own behalf. Any of them who contend they were victims of false accusations involving contraband in their lockers for the past two years should revisit the issue, and anyone who has reported anything stolen from a Greenbrier locker in that time should start raising questions.
Sadly, the security breach doesn't seem to be a big issue for school officials, who deemed it too costly to change the locks when the key turned up missing. But just because the only security violation was that of students doesn't make it any less important.
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