Keeping Students Safe at School

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Even though Gilbert Arizona is one of the safest places to live in the United States, violent crimes are becoming more common. If a shooting can occur in a movie theater or a church, it could definitely happen at a school. With school violence on the rise, administration works diligently to keep students safe on campus.

 

What students can do to help keep school safe

 

Most of the time the impact students have on school safety goes unnoticed and unappreciated. One of the worst things that students can do is not pay attention. 

Retired SWAT team member, Tommy Rice, emphasized that one of the most important things that you can do to keep you and others safe is to be aware of your surroundings. Principal Dan Serrano additionally added that, “If you see something say something.”

Almost any situation can be prevented if it is brought up to administration. Crises can often be prevented by acknowledging threatening comments made on social media by the attacker.

Serrano explained the administration’s point of view on threats made on social media. He emphasized the severity of threats when and said, “A rumor started but we take them serious.” Last spring there was a threat made on social media. It was brought to the administration and they diffused the situation. This year alone there have already been multiple threats made to schools in Arizona. 

 

What administration is doing to keep the school safe

 

Administration has multiple security guards on campus at all times during a typical school day. They rotate around campus doing multiple jobs such as patrolling the hallways, watching the entrance gates, and checking bathrooms. 

Security guards protect students from many different types of danger. They put in a lot of hours on the campus and even participate in training for emergency situations. Assistant Principal Jennifer Burks — who oversees campus security — explained that “Our security guards all go to special training,”. She added that ”they actually have to do additional certifications.” 

Another part that the administration plays in the safety of students is the placement of a school resource officer on campus. Officer Jesse Allen is on campus to respond to any emergency situation and in the event of a calamity he would do his best to solve the problem safely.

Additionally, the school has invested in twenty-first century security all over campus. There are multiple cameras in operation all the time from the parking lots to the inside of buildings and every common area in between. One of the only spots students will not see cameras is in their classrooms. However, Serrano believes in the importance of monitoring students on campus; he sees a future for this technology and stated, “Do I think at some point there may be some guy in a room looking at cameras? Yeah I do… You would be surprised at how many things we catch on cameras.” Although the safety of the school does not rely on camera surveillance, they certainly provide extra help.

 

Plans and procedures

 

In the event of an emergency situation, Perry security guards have a set of plans that they rely on in order to keep students safe. Most of these security guards have done multiple training courses that will help them react in an emergency situation. 

The security guards are currently working on getting their active shooter training completed and are close to completing that. Tommy Rice, the lead security guard, talked about this crew when he said,”We’re set up better than most.” 

The security team is dedicated to keeping the campus and students safe. They are constantly reviewing all of their plans and procedures for certain events. These plans and procedures are set up district-wide. In the event of an emergency situation Gilbert Police Department would respond quickly due to their close proximity to campus.

 

There are already multiple security measures put in place to keep the campus safe. With the addition of the new C building there is an outside staircase that was made past the gate. This addition caused a lot of people to scratch their heads because of the fact that it is outside the gate.

Because the traffic of the staircase inside the campus was so bad, they opened up the second staircase and put a security guard on watch to make sure people go to the right place.

Assistant principal Jennifer Burks explained that the security detail focused around the new C building and she stated that,“There are four of them who rotate throughout the day.” With these people put into place they can help keep the campus safe and make sure no bad guys walk on. There is no question about dependability on these security guards because they get rotated around and switch between jobs.

 

Importance of lock downs

 

The moment that Perry goes into a lock down drill it is important to be serious about it. In the event of an actual emergency, it is necessary to already know what to do so there is no hesitation and confusion. 

Lock down drills are “…almost like if you work out,” according to Rice. By working out, you develop muscle memory for that certain movement or procedure. If Perry continues to practice lock downs then students and faculty can respond fast to a real emergency situation. With that in mind, it is important to treat the lock down drills with a proper mindset. Because we have four lock down drills a year, it is important to treat them like the real deal.

 

So what can you be doing?

The administration is doing its part to maximize the campus’ security. Students can minimize threats to our own safety by being alert in the hallways, while scrolling social media, and when talking in the lunchroom. 

Being observant and perceptive can make all the difference when it comes down to eliminating dangerous situations in Arizona schools. 

 

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