School Saftey: Are We Prepared for the Worst?

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 Automatically locking doors, individual key cards for access and entry, better cameras–these and other changes may soon appear at Skyline despite the fact the bond failed. Why all of the inconvenience? An attempt at increasing school safety.

  As of mid October, the US has reported 65 school shootings, 65 shootings that have wounded and killed hundreds of innocent children looking up to a bright future. All these shootings, yet patrons still won’t pass the bond to improve our facilities. This got us at WSS thinking about how safe we truly are in our schools, so we decided to research whether our schools are safe enough by investigating to see how easy it is to trespass on a D91 campus and how long it takes authorities to identify trespassers. The results? It’s pretty easy.

  At IFHS, our ticket inside was nothing more than just wearing backpacks and walking in like a normal student would. Sure, we are high school students, so we appeared to fit in, but so are most shooters. For the record, Adam Lanza was only 19, as was the Parkland shooter. Any person up to no good could waltz into a one of our schools and do the same. With our sunglasses in hand and our timer running, we continued to see how far we could get.

  Our first obstacle was a cheer team and bus outside the school. The team was most certainly going to some sort of event. With all the chaos, we were able to walk past without a single word said to us. Up the steps and through the single set of doors and we were inside the campus. As I walked past the office, I noted that all three of the windows were closed. Anyone could have entered without being seen.

  We decided to see if we could make it to most of the common core rooms, an easy task that took around 10 minutes to complete. Up to the second floor, down through the dusty basement, passing unlocked classroom after unlocked classroom, we continued without anyone even questioning our presence, despite the fact that students should have been in class. Back down the stairs, we decided to see where else we could go. Eager to find every flaw, we tried the small gym doors, which were locked on both sides. Down we went to the wrestling room, whose doors were also locked. Next, quietly and casually, we walked into the library where we were finally stopped. The librarian, simply doing her job, asked us for notes that we obviously didn’t have. After some rather intense questioning, we were able to explain our investigation. I took out my timer and read that it had been 16 minutes since we entered the building, a rather alarming amount of time to go unnoticed.

  Our next target was Compass Academy. This time, however, we ran into a small issue: Once we walked into the first set of doors, we were trapped. The second set had been locked, and the only way in was through the office, which at the time was full of teachers and other officials that were sure to catch us. As we thought about our next move, a student from the inside opened a door as they were leaving the building. In just the brink of time, my partner was able to catch the door behind him; we now had an easy way in. The one thing that caught my attention was that the officials in the office had seen us snag the door and sneak in, but did not seem to care about our presence at the campus.

  Similar to IFHS, we proceeded to inspect the campus for any flaws. We walked by several student groups doing their work–not a single bat of an eye. Other issues that were noted was the amount of glass walls in the science hall. With enough force, an intruder could break into the science and chemistry labs and gain access to chemical compounds that could create even more chaos. My last and final detail that I noticed was that there were a few doors left unlocked leading to places like classrooms and even the stage of the auditorium. After reaching everywhere we could, we exited the building, thus concluding our tests.

  The scale of these flaws embedded within our schools can only be described with two words: potentially catastrophic. Potentially, the main word in this phrase, should be emphasized because the IFPD is always ready to go in the case of a shooting. Skyline’s Security Officer, Officer John Cowley, explained his protocols as such: ” If there is an active shooter inside the building, my training is to go directly to that active shooter and stop the problem first and foremost, by any means possible.” He also included, “This is also the goal of all of the officers in the city.” The point to take from all of this is the fact that our officers will be there in the case of a shooting.

  Crowley also spoke of a police grant that has been submitted. If the grant is given, the newly available $500,000 would be used to improve school cameras and install an electric lock system on all doors that would help to prevent unlawful entry by intruders, which will help, but only if students don’t prop open the doors, etc. Until then, everyone on campus can help by reporting suspicious people who don’t belong on campus. This is why adults should always wear ID tags.

  With new officers recently being appointed at Taylorview and Eagle Rock Middle schools, our schools are safer than ever. For an open campus, there’s not a lot more we can do, and not many want to take the drastic measures of closing campus to increase our security further. Our security is state of the art and always improving.

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