Steps taken towards improving safety


Laney Wardell

Security guard Rob Hehe watches the east gate near the new C-building.

It used to be that schools were constructed so that they were inviting for outsiders to come in. Schools welcomed strangers onto their campuses because learning was a time of innocence and educating children was seen as a collaboration between schools and communities.

In today’s violent climate, however, schools are rushing to fence in their once-welcoming designs, and now it seems that school safety is the most important thing a campus must have. With the current rise in gun violence and mental illness, schools are increasing security in a number of ways, including adding more qualified personnel as well as evolving their protocol. Lead security guard Tommy Rice said the first step to ensuring the school is safe is the people who guard it. “I try to hire ex-military and ex-officers,” Rice said. Tommy Rice also explained his daily routine and steps he takes to make sure the school is not in harm’s way.  He said how he locks the gates, assigned each guard to buildings, and does perimeter checks regularly to ensure each student is safe. “At Perry we try our best to make sure you are having a good time, and you are safe to have a good high school experience,” Tommy Rice said when asked about ensuring safety.

Gilbert police officer Jesse Allen, who has served as Perry’s student-resource officer since 2013, said that “I make sure Perry High School is following protocol and I check in with Chandler Police Department and after each drill.” He also added that the state mandates how many lockdown drills a school is responsible for running each year. “The state has a mandatory two lockdown drills per year,” Allen said. “Perry doubles that to ensure preparedness.”

As there is no such thing as too much security at a school, cameras are a good tool to use to catch things not always caught by one man walking the halls of a building. Serrano explained: “Cameras I feel are necessary all over the school, we do have them but I feel we should have more. You would be surprised by the amount of things we caught on camera.” An eagle eye in the corner is always a good way to catch someone doing the wrong thing.

Mental health is also something that could spark potential issues in a school, as the school is taking good care of this issue with implementing the new mindfulness room. This is an accessible tool for the students if they struggle with things like anxiety or depression to get the necessary help for these issues. The importance of this room is very necessary as a rise in people coming forward about their mental state of mind increases, the room becomes more and more accepted in today’s culture.