The Free Lancer

Campus Safety: To Us

Antoinette Aho, Editor-in-Chief

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Since the Parkland shooting on February 14th earlier this year, schools across the nation have been contemplating the safety of their campuses and deciding what precautions they must take to assure that a shooting does not occur at their school. With the rise of awareness, anxiety for students and teachers has peaked as well. School boards feel the pressure of protecting their students, teachers seek a better understanding of prevention and students wait for change, all the while not knowing when an attack on their school may occur. Survivors of these tragedies live to share their experience and become activists for the cause, but millions of students reap the second-hand effects of these attacks. From having multiple fearful thoughts throughout their school days merely due to worries of there being a school shooting on their campus, to losing trust in their fellow peers.

To much demand, change is being made, Emergency Management, which reports on Public Safety & Homeland Security, reports that schools in Chicago, Illinois to schools in the Glynn county of Georgia, are implementing holistic methods to preventing attacks on their campuses. Whether it’s adding higher security to school grounds, establishing mental health classes, or monitoring social media and the cybersecurity of students.

Many people question which of these factors society should focus on changing.

Students must feel secure at school while being able to attend without feeling locked in, meanwhile, they should be aware of mental health and the rise of it; more so they should find the ability to openly talk about it and seek assistance if necessary.

Clearly, each needs to be adjusted for a substantial change to take place.

 

Cordova High School has faced fractions of this issue as well, the other week, a student was arrested for carrying a weapon on school grounds. To some, this may not be seen as a massive issue, but many students don’t feel safe when situations like these occur. And surely parents don’t appreciate the scare either. It is common knowledge that high schoolers are not mentally developed enough to understand the effect of their actions, as the prefrontal cortex of the brain has yet to fully form. This, alongside many other scientific reasons, plays into the reasoning that students have no business handling weapons of any sort, for any reason. There is no meritable explanation for why this student was on campus carrying a gun.

Whether or not he was considering an attack is beyond the point, merely the fear risen is reasoning enough for there to be an established issue. If students are alongside peers with weapons on themselves, they are not safe.

The Free Lancer communicated with multiple students about their feelings when it comes to situations such as the one above. As multiple cases such as this have occurred on the campus, some students have more than one experience to look back on. Asking to stay anonymous, one student states, “It makes me feel like we have to rely on the kindheartedness of other people because the school won’t be able to protect us if somebody has a weapon.” This represents the notion that schools are not taking enough action to protect their students and keep the campus safe.

Emely Mejia says “For the most part I feel pretty safe at school, never throughout the day do I wonder if my safety is at stake. I do sometimes worry since our campus is so freely open to anyone if someone were to have harmful thoughts towards the kids at our school, what really could the school do? With our campus being so big and filled with hundreds of kids, no matter how hard the school tries to protect our safety there are always possibilities that anything could happen at any time.”

Again, this shows the worry of an off, or on, campus attacker coming to hurt students. She goes on saying, “I felt a little unsure because in the incident that recently occurred with the student who got arrested for having a weapon was that I had no clue until days after. Although the parents were informed immediately, I wish the students were too.” Mejia, like many others, was not quickly informed of this incident, she merely heard unconfirmed rumors, until days later when they were fortified. Not only does this show that students are disconnected due to lack of awareness, but this makes them feel unsafe in an environment which should be the exact opposite.

The subject was further discussed with Ms. Brown, a Vice Principle at Cordova High School who is also in charge of campus security. She was able to attest that some of the student’s worries are hers as well. As the campus of our school is quite open and spread out, this poses greater security risks along with the positive aspects. A large, spacious campus allows students to feel like they have space, rather than be locked in, but the public access is much higher, due to this, the security has been upped, especially over the past few years. Brown says that implementation includes having multiple forms of security guards patrolling Cordova at all times, as there are multiple campus monitors that watch for anyone entering or exiting campus, as well as a new Resource Officer, straight from the Rancho Cordova Police Department (RCPD), alongside them are two School Resource Officers (SROs) from the RCPD committed to keeping Cordova High School safe by being alert at all times, and also communicating with both campus offices and teachers. Brown reports that training all staff on how to act if an attack occurs has been upped as well. If there is a suspicious individual on campus action is promptly taken, she says, “When an unknown individual steps foot on our campus, they are confronted and questioned within their first twenty steps.” Not only does Cordova have sustainable security staff, but they are fully aware of what takes place on campus and are quick to act, as they have access to golf carts which are ideal for the vast campus.

Although Brown believes that CHS has an excellent level of campus security, more safety precautions have been considered. Most notably, installing a fence around the campus is a possible option, she, like many others, dislike the atmosphere it poses. As mentioned above, the spacious campus allows students to feel like they aren’t locked in, but with a gated school this will be ultimately defeated. A red flag occurs when students feel like they have no way out, or as if they are forced inside of a school. So while this may increase the security, it poses too many cons to be considered legitimately.

Overall, Brown appreciates the open campus and understands the level of security that needs to be prepared if tragedy is to strike. The school’s access to assistance from local police sources is one of the most significant benefits to employ.  

As a society, it can only be hoped that implementations will be taken further than Cordova’s campus. Persistence is key to adopting a change, so rather than giving up hope, take a stand for campus safety and the security of all students.

About the Writer
Antoinette Aho, Editor-In-Chief

Antoinette is The Free Lancer Editor-in-Chief, she is currently a sophomore at Cordova High School and member of the California Scholarship Federation,...

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Campus Safety: To Us