Better Safe Than Sorry

Students, Faculty Discuss New, Updated Safety Measures

Mily Suarez-Tobon

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Photo Courtesy of Jack Polishook

Head of School Safety and Assistant Principal Vernon Rogers sits down for an interview discussing updated school safety measures across the school following concerns across the nation. “I’m excited that we are getting a little more attention to those security measures to keep students and staff safe, especially here on campus,” Rogers said. “I have a lot of personal opinions, but I think my biggest thing that I will always go back to is if students and staff are safe here.”

Jack Polishook, Reporter

There’s been a recurring problem for students like sophomore Ryan Rios. Every morning, band students like him pull into the parking lot after months of sleep deprivation and lug their instruments into the building, with Rios in particular bringing a large baritone saxophone that just barely fits through the door. There’s only one problem: with the addition of new school safety measures, doors are to remain locked at all times.

In the wake of recent events, faculty have made sure to keep students as safe as possible this school year, in accordance with district and state-wide policies. The school has revamped some of its previous school safety in order to prevent any potential dangers to the school. This includes requiring doors to remain locked at all times, making improvements on the mass alert systems and implementing drills and emergency response training for staff, and ensuring that hallways are monitored by Student Resource Officers. The school is also occasionally audited by state employees who try to bypass the school’s security system to spot weaknesses.

“The gate nearest the band hall in the science building closes at 7:45 a.m., and every morning I have to drop off my instrument in the band hall, so I have to go the furthest way around,” Rios said. “So if I’m late, then that will definitely be a hindrance and could make me late to class.”  

After recent school tragedies including the shooting in Uvalde, Texas, Assistant Principal and Head of School Safety, Vernon Rogers, said he is determined to make sure the school is a safe environment for everyone. According to Rogers, even though the locked door policy can be an inconvenience, safety is the biggest priority.

“I have a lot of personal opinions, but I think my biggest thing that I will always go back to is if students and staff are safe here,” Rogers said. “We need to make sure that we are all accountable.” 

With the addition of safety measures, the school has also hired different student resource officers for this school year, and they provide much more to the school than standard police officers. Ricky Pando, one of the new SRO officers, not only serves as a monitor for the campus but also helps out with community service hour opportunities and makes sure students are doing alright.

“I would like to see the kids get comfortable with not only the SRO but with any officers that come in, and just know that we’re here for your safety and the safety of the teachers,” Pando said.

The new safety changes may be an inconvenience for some students, according to Rios, but ultimately, it’s a way to keep students and faculty safe for the betterment of the school.

“We have a lot of trust in people and that’s great, but we have to make sure that we’re just going to get to the end of this,” Rogers said. “We’ll do whatever we need to do, convenient or not.”