The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Safety concerns and poor behavior sparked formation of library lunch line

Students+line+up+outside+of+the+library%2C+waiting+for+a+spot+to+study
Benjamin Wang
Students line up outside of the library, waiting for a spot to study

The Dougherty Valley Library has begun to implement a line system during the lunch period to conform with the building’s fire code and to address growing behavioral issues. Many students who spend their lunch breaks in the library have likely been held up in this mysterious queue. Although it might appear like an unneeded inconvenience, the new line system was implemented as a safety precaution for the students.

“The fire code is low. It’s actually 81 [people] which is stupid,” librarian Kerrie Knapp described. “We have 140 chairs so we used to kind of ignore [the fire code]. And it caught up with us a little bit.”

While adhering to California law is certainly one reason for this capacity limit,  Knapp revealed another underlying cause for the library line. While in previous years the library was lenient with the number of students entering and exiting, a recent surge in disorderly behavior in the library was the final straw that led the library staff to enforce the fire code. 

“The more students that were in here, the more behavior issues we were having, and the more like issues with food and drink and like running and throwing, sitting on each other’s laps and touching each other like children,” Knapp explained.

These misbehaviors are just the tip of the iceberg, and aside from the occasional roughhousing, other questionable actions have gone to the extent of destroying library furniture.

“We have a picture of the spines of a shelf [covered in a] ketchup explosion. We had a burrito stuffed between the cushions over there,” Knapp recounted in disbelief. “Like, I’ve been here for 12 years. And that’s never happened until last year.”

We have a picture of the spines of a shelf [covered in a] ketchup explosion. We had a burrito stuffed between the cushions over there

— Kerrie Knapp

To combat these problems, the library staff has agreed to limit the number of students allowed in at a time. So far, the policy has seen success, with staff members like AP Stats teacher Jennifer Cincotta helping police the line. Whenever behavior becomes too uncontrolled, these staff members will ask students to either calm down or leave.

“The noise level was making it hard for those that were there to study,” Cincotta said. “[But] the atmosphere is much better [now].”

Knapp attributes the spike in disobedience to the COVID-19 pandemic and suggests that after being trapped inside for so long, students feel the need to socialize more, despite being in an academic setting.

“I think it’s a product of being home for too long during COVID. Before, lockdown and all that we never had issues with food [but] like last year those carrots were everywhere,” Knapp explained.

The source of these issues seems to be the discrepancy between whether the library is meant to be an academic environment or a social area. Just like any other library, the DVHS library is intended as a place of productivity; since the library has been normalized as a popular hangout spot for students, many forget its true purpose.

As stated by Knapp: “I would love for there to be this just kind of like, normalized realization like when you walk through the doors of the library, you’re like, I’m in an academic setting, right? And I’m gonna behave like a student.”

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About the Contributor
Benjamin Wang, Staff Writer
Benjamin joined the Tribune because his sister took the class and he thought it seemed like a very interesting class with a close group of people. He took J1 last year and does creative writing outside of school. This year, Benjamin is looking forward to learning more about journalism and reading his published articles in the newspaper. He likes to play golf and is on track to play collegiately. If he could be anyone on the Tribune, he'd choose to be David Zhang because he will probably end up becoming a billionaire.

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