Red alert: increased security

SHS enforces and introduces new security protocols


Darcy Leber

A student signs into the main office using a new security protocol on Aug. 21.

This year is “a little bit different,” Principal Brian Knight said. SHS is in the process of winding down from the pandemic, returning to normal operations after two years of quarantine.

This year is not meant to be like last year. It has been made evidently clear from the school’s administration that, due to recent events, they are taking the student body’s safety much more seriously.

In past years, the school was essentially open to anyone who wanted to get in, not by the choice of administration, but because of a lack of security systems. Students would leave doors open, the doors were not alarmed and locked doors were opened for random people who wanted in.

“We will have to stress (not opening doors for people) a little bit more,” Knight said.  “I think some of it is convenience over security.”

To combat the openness of the building, the administration has partnered with a company to install security cameras, alarm doors and provide the software for the alarms. All without charging the school in the process.

The problem isn’t just the students. Both teachers and parents have played a key role in the situation the school is in.

Teachers have not been worried about security risks for years now, causing some procedures to become neglected. Parents have become a much greater focus now, leading to the “sign in, sign out” system SHS has in place.

The system allows administration to keep track of where parents are during the day, letting them know who they need to keep track of during events like lockouts and fires. This gives them a list of people to give to first responders during these situations.

The administration is not trying to paint the student body as the problem, but they need the students’ compliance to maintain a safe environment in the school.

“It really does come down to, unfortunately we live in a world where school safety has to be taken far too seriously, because we don’t want to be … so relaxed that we get to a place of a lot of school shootings or those types of things,” Knight said.

Some students go above and beyond in ensuring the environment around them is safe, turning compliance into cooperation, sending suspicious activity to Knight on social media, playing a crucial role in prevention of incidents in the building. Administration takes these submissions very seriously.

When the administration receives a notification, they immediately begin investigating it. Depending on the time it was sent, there can be officers taking action that night.

School policies aren’t changing entirely. Knight described what is happening as a reiteration of the rules. The school became much more relaxed due to COVID-19 and to the lack of people in the building.

“There’s lots of things, probably over the last couple of years,” Knight said. “That we maybe got a little bit more relaxed on, because we wanted people to be here.”

The school maintains a high amount of traffic on a daily basis, ranging from students using the bathroom, to deliveries made by contractors. This traffic makes it even more difficult, and important, to keep track of where people are throughout the day.

The main office will usually write around 50 or more passes in a period, as explained by a student worker. Some students will keep these passes and use them as a kind of “get out of jail free card,” after the pass has reasonably expired.

“If we don’t take the passes back from the kids, they can just use it another day if we don’t look at the date,” active office worker junior Dorrie June said.

Staff not checking passes doesn’t seem to be an issue. Administration has sprinkled staff throughout the building as a safeguard against insubordination, and as a rapid response method in case of student altercations in the hallways.

Lanyard checks are expected to become a normalcy. Students not wearing a lanyard will be sent to student services, and be given a temporary one. Repeated offenders will be treated like truants.

Administration is doing all of this to further their goal in allowing students to attend and participate in school, in a comfortable, safe environment.

Cooperation between the student body and administration is the only way that the school can ever be remotely safe, and students must be open to following guidelines put in place as to maintain their own, and others, safety. 

“The building is only as secure as you help us make it,” said Knight.