By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — A Dearborn High School student started a petition drive against the city’s announced new safety guidelines for Jan. 16 to 26 requiring parental supervision for students under the age of 18.
Dearborn High student Mariam Amen, 16, started the petition drive shortly after the Library Commission released the news because “this guideline prevents hard working students from getting quiet study time and checking out library books. It is a disruption to the learning process of students. While we understand that some children may misbehave, we cannot let the larger majority of students suffer from learning at the hands of those small bunch that are not yet mature,” according to the description.
Started on Jan. 5, the petition reached 513 signatures as of Jan. 11 with a goal of 1,000 before it can be sent to the Dearborn Library Commission.
The Dearborn Library Commission plans to implement the guidelines during the time period at Bryant Branch, Esper Branch and Henry Ford Centennial Library.
“The goal of the Dearborn Public Library is to provide a positive and quiet atmosphere for all who visit to use library resources,” a city of Dearborn press release said. “These guidelines are in accordance with advice from the Dearborn Police Department and have been approved by the Library Commission, the Mayor’s office and the City Council.”
New guidelines are:
• All students under the age of 18 are required to have parental supervision.
• For every four students, at least one parent must stay in the building and supervise the group the entire time they are in the library.
• Parents supervising students will have to speak to staff posted at the public entrance doors, sign a form stating that they are responsible for the group and that they will actively monitor the students while they are in the library.
• All students must show school identification or other valid photo ID upon entering the building. The library requires proper identification so that appropriate measures can be taken should any issues arise.
In the petition, Amen argues that if people at the age of 16 can drive on public roads without an adult, then they should be allowed in a public library without supervision.
“This petition is important to me because I love to read and have easy access to books. I also need a quiet space to study because otherwise I cannot focus and get work done which leads to a poor grade on an important exam,” she said. “Please help keep our libraries available to students who cannot get their parents to come watch them for three hours while they study or browse books.”
A Dearborn Library Commission meeting is planned for 4 p.m. Jan. 12 where the new guidelines will be discussed.
For more information, contact Library Administration at 313-943-2037.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)