Securing student safety

Administration in process of making changes to increase school security


Foreign language teacher Jamie Marshall helps sophomore Blake Ward while wearing her photo identification.

Last year when school safety issues were on the rise nationally, senior Brittany Bryant remembers feeling terrified when fire drills and a power outage occurred at SHS. She remembers tying these events back to other school shootings and thinking it felt too real not to be reality.

“With anxiety and everything added on top of it, it makes everything (bad) seem like it’s going to happen,” Bryant said.

Due to these feelings and previous safety problems at SHS, changes to ensure school safety are currently in process. According to Principal Brian Knight, these changes include creating a student sign-in entrance, requiring students to wear identification and restructuring the main entrance.

“We want you to be focused on what you’re doing in school…,” Knight said.  “If you’re in an unsafe environment, then you’re constantly worried about safety, which means you’re probably not focusing on all of those other things.”

Knight says the biggest safety issue at SHS is the lack of door security. He acknowledges that students who open doors for friends or leave doors propped open probably have legitimate reasons, but a door is where the issue starts. With how big the SHS student population is and how many entrances there are, leaving doors open makes it easy for anyone to enter and have it go unnoticed. To combat this, he wants to create student entrances for seniors who leave to get lunch or have unassigned study hall.

Another change that will probably be seen next year is requiring everyone to wear photo identification. This means I.D.s would be used to access regular things, like buying a school lunch. On top of that, it could serve as a student’s all-sports pass, instead of having an extra card. Knight feels that the more the I.D. is connected to necessary things, the more practical it would be. English teacher Sam Hanley is a proponent of this aspect.

“I would not want to exclude a student from education for not having a lanyard around his or her neck…,” Hanley said. “But I think there should be some reason for students to wear them to make our building safer.”

The final change would be securing the main entrance. The front doors to the office would be locked and students would have to buzz in, possibly with their I.D.s. This would help to prevent random people from getting into the building.

Knight says that school safety is a team effort. He feels that if everyone works together and reports things that they feel are suspicious, SHS can have a better community.

“If we deal with issues appropriately everyday… then that’s going to help us make the school more safe,” Knight said.