Administration emphasizes old and new safety measures

September 22, 2018 — by Edwin Chen and Kaitlyn Wang

New safety measures at Saratoga High.

In an effort to strengthen school safety this year, the administration has implemented new measures and more strictly enforced old ones.

One change is to require staff members to wear ID badges on campus. The IDs help students and emergency responders quickly identify who is a staff member.

“I think they’re important to have,” Spanish teacher Gina Rodriguez said. “Also in an emergency situation, it’s good for us to have some law enforcement on campus know that we work here. I don’t have any problem with it.”

Administrators say ID badges not only help identify staff, but also make obvious any adults on campus who don’t have a visitor’s pass.

Another security enhancement is a stepped up ban of food deliveries from apps such as Doordash, which was first implemented last year, principal Paul Robinson said.

Concerns about having unidentified intruders on campus stemmed in part from the influx of food deliveries in recent years, prompting the enforcement of the food delivery ban.

Students, especially underclassmen who cannot leave campus, may find DoorDash appealing. But according to Robinson, Doordash is not suited for a school environment.

“It’s presented more problems than not,” Robinson said. “Doordash works best when it’s delivered directly to your home. Coming to school, getting deliveries like pizza — it’s just not a good idea. A lot of times it ends up going sideways versus getting to the right people.”

In additional efforts to strengthen safety measures,  the administrative and counseling staff attended a threat assessment training program last spring, which emphasized how to conduct interviews after receiving a reported threat. Teachers, parents and students will also have an opportunity to participate in an online training component in October.

“Communication, connection, early involvement of law enforcement and training for students and parents: all of this is what we are working on this year,” Robinson said. “The threat assessment training taught us new things, but it also verified that many of the things we already had in place were good for us to do. That’s how we’re continuing to try to increase what we can do on campus to keep all of us safe.”

Because students may know something that is occurring before adults do, it is important for them to feel comfortable coming in and talking with an adult, Robinson said. Good communication can help prevent something from happening that may be catastrophic.

“We’re not immune to the problems of the world,” teacher Matt Torrens said. “I think we need to be prepared for things that we’re reading about in the newspapers.”  

Sophomore Andrew Xiao also voiced support for the training.

“It’s definitely what the school should be doing,” Xiao said. “We should be spending more time preventing school incidents.”

Xiao believes that additional measures should be taken to improve school safety, specifically increased funding for school therapy services.

“I see a lot of times when students have problems, they don’t get help and try to tough it out,” Xiao said. “Creating a more open environment and encouraging students to use their resources more is important for school safety.”

With efforts ranging from ID badges to threat assessment training, Robinson hopes that together, administration, students and staff can help ensure that the campus remains a safe place.

“That’s what we want to get to: to make sure that every student feels comfortable that when they recognize that something’s wrong, they let an adult know on campus so we can take care of it as quickly as possible,” Robinson said, “because that’s the only way we keep each other safe.”

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