School security increases in wake of shootings |

School security increases in wake of shootings

Submitted photo courtesy of
Michele Coomler |

Students come to school everyday, expecting the same routine; to go to class, lunch, then go home. If someone was to come to campus, with an intention of harming others, this regular routine would be shattered in a matter of minutes.

A few weeks ago, Connecticut saw the horrors behind what could happen when anyone can walk on campus when they please. Now it has come to America’s attention that the security at most schools needs to be reconstructed in some ways, to keep students safer. When lockdown drills take place the most that can be done is lock the doors, turn off the lights, and get all the students hidden or into the farthest corner of the classroom from the window in only a matter of time.

This is a regular drill for most schools, however since the occurrence in Connecticut, schools are enforcing new rules. For example, there was a new locked door policy sent out to all California schools, requiring that all doors are to be locked, even during school hours, according to Bear River High School administrators.

There have also been new rules about who can visit campuses.

“Safety should always be number one on the list for schools; not academics, not athletics. The children’s and staffs personal security needs to be on top.”

— Cindy Solomon,
Bear River Senior

At Bear River High School, alumni and former students are no longer allowed on campus. If they wish to visit, they need to set up an appointment beforehand, instead of showing up whenever they please.

“Following the tragedy, Harrison, Espedal, Peterson, and I reviewed procedures to make things safer and updated drills. If theres more we can do then we will,” said Bear River’s Principal, Jim Nieto, referring to his administrative staff.

Working alongside Nieto, Chris Espedal, the Emergency Preparedness Coordninator, and Cindy Harrison, Bear River’s assistant principal, sent out a letter to the district’s staff after the Connecticut tragedy. The letter let staff know of new safety plans and protocol. Some of these actions include enhanced collaboration with law enforcement, fire, and Emergency Medical Services, installing security camera systems, practice drills for any emergency, emergency bags for every classroom, etc.

While updating drills, Nevada County Sheriff’s Deputy Micah Arbaugh, Bear River’s school resource officer, keeps things under control.

“Business as usual. Things like this make you think, you want to be diligent and stay up on training,” Arbaugh said.

Arbaugh is on the Bear River campus everyday.

Students should feel safe when coming to school. However, it should not take a tragedy to question this safety.

“I feel that some schools are increasing security following the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown,” said senior Cindy Solomon. “However, it should not take a crazy thing like that to cause this increase. Safety should always be number one on the list for schools; not academics, not athletics. The children’s and staffs personal security needs to be on top.”

Taylor Sinclair is a senior at Bear River High School.

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