Locks, Lights, IDs in Sight

New security updates benefit school

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Photo by Emma Trussell

ID camera at the Fine Arts building during lunch on March 4.

by Emma Trussell, Photo Editor

The smooth electronic bell echos down the halls of the school, a noise that you can’t help but compare to that of an airplane seatbelt signal. You make your way to class, tugging on the ID badge hanging around your neck, and wondering why the school even needs to make all these changes. Starting Feb. 20, the doors began to lock between classes and students are required to wear IDs to get into the buildings. A new public announcement system (PA) now replaces the old-school bells that were previously used as signals for class time or common drills students had to perform.

PISD has even introduced a new app, Alertus, to notify the student body of danger on the campus if we are in a location in which the PA system cannot be heard. It alerts us to stay off campus or to find a safe location in the event of an emergency. Being able to directly notify us is a great improvement to our school in safety and response time from staff to students.

Since implementing the new security measures (locking doors, ID badges, metal detectors) there has been some unrest among the student population. I’ve heard plenty of students complain about all the changes and how inconvenient it is. I’ve seen tweets questioning the point of a new bell system. I’ve even seen peers create a petition to reverse the ID badge policy. One of the changes made was the introduction of a new PA system, which allows us direct contact from the school staff. In case of emergency situations, we no longer have to try and memorize a set of confusing bell patterns, but just simply listen to the instructions. I find that actually hearing what exactly is going on directly from the staff is reassuring. It creates more order during dangerous situations and can help us relieve panic.

Student complaints come from the doors locking between classes and during lunch, but it’s really not inconvenient as long as you carry your ID badge and are usually on time to class. Even if you are late, it’s just a matter of finding a “straggler door” (a door with a push button and camera), pressing the button, and showing your badge. There’s really no reason for seniors to complain about how “painful” this process is, because we only have three months left of school. Locking doors helps improve our safety because, according to K-12 shooting statistics, 669 out of 1316 reported incidents of school shootings happened outside of the building on school property. This means that with the locking doors the school is able to keep threats like these from moving inside the building.

These changes are to help ensure our safety to the best of the administration’s abilities. Imagine if something did happen and the school hadn’t made any changes. There would be backlash from parents and students because the school was doing nothing to protect us. It may not be a perfect system considering 52.5 percent (691 out of 1316 incidents) of school shooters are students, but the fact that the campus does not have open access to any stranger passing through is important in improving safety. Every step towards a safer campus is an important one that we should recognize and support.

No matter how you personally feel about the updates, doing anything to improve the security around the school should be a priority. We should be glad that our school is willing to act and make changes in order to protect us and our future.