SHS Security After Parkland

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SHS Security After Parkland

Credit: Flickr

Credit: Flickr

Credit: Flickr

Credit: Flickr

Isabel Horney, Writer

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Imagine metal detectors at the door when you first enter the school building, armed guards checking for dangerous weapons hidden in your gym clothes, and no longer having the freedom to leave campus during the day. School is a place where students should feel safe and where their main worry should be what grade they will receive on their next math test. They should not come to school in fear of being involved in a mass shooting, and school security plays a key role in eliminating this fear and ensuring students’ safety. Unsurprisingly, then, the topic of new school security updates and improvements has caught the attention of numerous students and faculty at SHS. Not only have there been meetings with the building emergency response team, a group of parents and members of the administration who discuss issues in our school’s security, but there have also been growing opinions within the student body.

“I don’t really like the idea that many of the doors to our school are open at all times, where anyone could enter at any time of day ”

— Kristina Karabanova '21

Many students feel as though our security system at SHS does not get the job done. For instance, some have expressed concerns about the open campus policy and the effectiveness of our security guards. “I believe all the students know what to do in a deadly situation if it were to take place, but I don’t think that the security guards are top dog or trained enough to keep our school safe from mass shootings,” said Kristina Karabanova ‘21. Following many concerns similar to Karabanova’s, there have recently been changes to the security guard matter. An extra security monitor has been put in place to make up for the lack of attention the main entrances of the school receive on a daily basis. “Recently, we were hearing that when security monitors were taking rest breaks, their posts were being left open. Now we have hired just recently a fourth monitor who can provide coverage during those rest breaks and also provide some coverage outside during high traffic periods,” explained SHS Assistant Principal Christopher Griffin. Griffin partakes in the building emergency response team and is constantly advocating for new security updates that could potentially be added at SHS, though he recognizes that it is impossible to keep everybody happy. “There are people who literally think that there should be no open campus for juniors and seniors and that there should be metal detectors at doors with armed guards. There are of course other people who really value the freedom and flexibility of the open campus and think that our current security protocols suffice and do a good enough job keeping us safe. It’s very hard to insulate yourself completely from a potential act of violence,” said Griffin.

If security is increased too much, it could lead to discomfort among students, which is exactly what these new updates are trying to avoid. “We need better security, but I also don’t want to feel like I’m walking into a prison everyday. I still want to feel like I’m at school,” stated Ella Schulhoff ’21. Therefore, SHS is trying to improve security in moderation, starting with small new ideas and adding more improvements based on thought and discussion among the administration and the building emergency response team. “At those team meetings we discuss new ideas for safety protocols and we also hash out ideas for enhancements. There are also parent members on those teams. For example, one of the things that we were moving towards is to have license scanners at the doors for visitors. Not only would a visitor have to sign in, but they would also have to show their identification. We would take a photograph of their identification and keep it on file,” said Griffin. Regarding the off-campus policy, nothing specific has been decided yet. Many parents are alarmed by the fact that anyone could potentially enter the school alongside students just returning from a fun lunch with friends, while upperclassmen appreciate this freedom. This is just one example of the difficult decisions the administration faces when keeping student and faculty safety in mind.

“I do not want the off-campus policy to be taken away. This is how I spend most days for lunch. ”

— Hannah Weller '19

As of now, many security updates are being discussed with thoughtfulness and care. SHS will continue to keep the safety of its community a top priority and implement new ways to keep everyone safe and happy. If you have any suggestions regarding school security or any concerns at all, Griffin asks that you contact him.