The wall at the American School of Bombay marks a cultural change between the school and the surrounding area. The first time I saw the wall, I assumed it was either for a prison, or a wealthy person’s mansion. When I discovered that the wall surrounded the American School of Bombay I was not only shocked, but also disturbed. The wall is 10ft tall and constructed with two layers of cinder blocks painted a dark tan color. Moreover, the wall has two sets of serrated metal spikes in a crisscross formation jutting from the top. As if this was not intimidating enough, to enter and leave the facility a guard has to allow you access through a high security door.
Before I write anymore you must understand that my goal for this blog is not to relate the school to a jail. Instead I am highlighting the different environments inside and outside of the school’s walls.
Once inside the school’s boundaries, it is evident that the school itself is pristine and flawless. The dining facilities are spacious and clean and there are many recreational areas such as a: pool, gym, basketball court, and dance studio. Despite these great features it is impossible to ignore the differences between the environment inside and outside of the walls. The school’s street is very busy and littered with both stray dogs and pedestrians. However, only a few feet away the school’s inner boundaries are desolate. Even though the inside of the school is sealed off to the public, security guards patrol the grounds all hours of the day and night. The guards do offer a feeling of security, but they also create a tense environment. Contrasting the tight security of the American School of Bombay is the Save the Children School, which is literally 20ft away. The environment of this school is strikingly different. Children of all ages run freely through the open air halls, and teachers smile and wave. Moreover, the gate to the school is always open and creates an inviting feel.
My emotions towards the atmosphere of American School of Bombay are conflicted at best. I am aware that the school needs a high level of security to protect its international students from the potential threat of terrorists. However, I strongly dislike the high-strung mood that the various measures of security create. If the American School of Bombay was able to make its security more discrete I believe that the overall environment of the school would be calmer and more conducive to learning.