Blood drive needs more donors

Story by Staff Editorial

Texas High has been hosting blood drives for decades, but no year has been quite such a disaster as this one. Numbers have dropped from the 2010-2011 school year to the 2011-2012 school year from more than 400 units to 243. This disturbing occurrence has many contributing factors–and has led to many consequences.

In years past, walk-ins (or people who “walk in” the day of the blood drive and volunteer to give) have contributed at least a third of the blood collected throughout the year.

Walk-ins are generally easier for students, as they can leave any class they have extra time in, since they don’t have to have a pre-arranged appointment. It is also allows for students who forgot the day of the blood drive, did not find someone to sign up with, weren’t sure if they would be able to give blood, or were on the fence about giving to begin with.

For the previous two drives, walk-ins were eliminated, as it supposedly posses too much of a temptation for students who wish only to get out of class; once released, there is no way for administrators to monitor these students.

With walk-ins no longer acceptable, the only way a student could donate through the school is by signing up ahead of time. These sign-ups are now required to be turned in to the administration ahead of time (up to 5 days before the actual drive). Students who had not actively attempted to sign up may not get the chance to donate.

The reason for these new restrictions is simple, as it all boils down to one problem–the administration is trying to keep students from skipping class. This is a valid concern, and one that the administration is required to consider. However, making sure that the school is able to give the most blood possible–something that saves lives–should come before the possibility that someone may take advantage of the system.

Administration does encourage blood drives, and these new restrictions are designed to force organization and responsibility on those wishing to donate. However, because the restrictions (which are negotiable) are in place, students need to make sure they are both signing up ahead of time if at all possible and being careful to follow all rules and regulations while on the school’s campus, so that privileges are not taken away.

Because of the current shortfall, administrators have decided to allow another blood drive at the beginning of April and to allow for walk-ins, though these will be closely monitored to make sure that students are not abusing the process. While this change is applauded, it alone will not ensure that we get the necessary units of blood. That’s where the students and staff must come in: You must be willing to donate.

The real point is this: with the new ideas about blood drives, the school is down over 150 pints of blood for the school year. This is a radical change not only for the school, which loses a $500 scholarship and the appreciation of the United Blood Services, but for the community. It is estimated that six out of 10 people will need blood during their lives, and the blood collected from Texas High goes to our community first.

A loss of this magnitude is not easily compensated. And it shouldn’t have to be. The numbers are down due to restrictions, as well as lack of volunteers. As long as there are students willing to donate, the school should allow them to do so. Now, while they are, students and faculty should make this a priority.