Security measures shed light on school safety

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Security measures shed light on school safety

Students lined up to go through security procedures before school.

Students lined up to go through security procedures before school.

Eunice Alpasan

Students lined up to go through security procedures before school.

Eunice Alpasan

Eunice Alpasan

Students lined up to go through security procedures before school.

By Alexa Soto, A&E Editor

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A school shooting is defined as any time when a “firearm was discharged inside a school building or on school or campus grounds,” according to EveryTown For Gun Safety.

As of March 8, 14 school shootings have occurred, excluding ones where no one was injured and excluding ones where just the shooter was shot, according to CNN. One of which took place on Feb. 14 in Parkland Florida at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed; among those were staff and students.

Lane students had many different reactions and feelings towards the shooting. Gretchen Faliszek, Div. 979, said she felt fear, and Zoe Prince, Div. 850, was stunned.

“I have a friend that goes to Parkland,” Prince said. “She was luckily at another building when it happened, but she goes to school there. And I was finding everything out, she was just texting us like, ‘Guys I love you there’s a shooter at my school, I’m safe right now.’”      

Mr. Ara, the assistant principal who oversees security, reacted by investigating Parkland’s security procedures and protocols.

“Parkland was one of the safest schools in the country, and if this could happen there, then we really need to take a look at our procedures and protocols,” Ara said.

Only a week after Parkland, on Feb. 22, Lane faced a potentially similar threat, communicated on social media. Students and faculty were “notified of a social media posting resembling a threat to our school,” according to a community message from Lane.

Gregory Matos, Div. 875, heard about the rumored threat from a student’s post on the Lane Tech Class of 2018 Facebook page.

“People kind of appreciate [social media] a little more because first off [the news] came a lot faster, and specifically the student who posted [about] it is pretty well-known and trusted, so we took his opinion pretty seriously,” Matos said.

The same day the school shooting rumors traveled around the school, Lane sent out an email at 7 p.m. that stated that beginning Feb. 23, Door O would no longer be an entrance. The only entrance would be Door D on Addison and Door M in the parking lot.

Though some students, like Faliszek and Prince view it as a nuisance, others have tried to look at it objectively.

“It does make sense because I have gotten in through Door O, on late days [when he arrived to school late],” Matos said. “It was really easy to get in, especially if there’s someone inside who knows you’re there.”

A few hours later, at 9 p.m., Lane sent out another email assuring the community that the Chicago Police Department investigated the situation and deemed it “not credible,” as it was never directed towards Lane.  

“I was more nervous about the way our students were going to take it because of what happened [at Parkland],” Mr. Smith, chief of security, said.

Though the threat was never directed towards Lane, the following day there were extra police officers on campus to make sure the day went as planned, according to Ara.

The following day, the additional officers departed, but the security changes were still intact.

“We are trying to limit the number of access points inside the building,” Ara said. “We’ve doubled our security at each door because the more doors we have open, the less security we can have on there.”  

As a result of closing Door O, there has been more security at the other two doors as well as longer lines to enter the building before school, according to Sydney Pauta, Div. 869.

“I support the security and am happy that it’s finally being taken serious, but maybe they can try to adjust the tardy system so that students don’t get punished for having to wait in line for something that in the end is to protect them,” Pauta said.

Before entering, students must put on their ID, and possibly go through security procedures.       

“We need you to wear your ID so we know you’re our student,” Ara said. “We need to know who belongs here and who doesn’t.”

Along with closing Door O, there has been an increase in enforcing wearing IDs.

“I remember one day every teacher was checking to see if my ID was on,” Faliszek said. “They were checking to see if it was a real ID, that it wasn’t our friend’s or anything.”

Security guards will randomly check if students are wearing the correct ID.

“We’ve always done that, but yes it’s more of a focus now,” Smith said.

Despite the changes in security, some students have always felt safe.

“With this increase, it does bring a bit of peace to my mind knowing that the security is being even more vigilant with who enters or what enters the school,” Pauta said. “I feel as safe as I used to.”

As for the environment of Lane, the change is seen through the added respect given to security guards and protocols, Smith said.

“The change that I’ve seen has been positive,” Smith said. “I see IDs on more, I don’t see anything left in the door, sometimes I would see a stick in the door [to allow students to exit and enter through that door], I don’t see that as much. I don’t see students letting in other people that are waiting by the door.”

Students have different opinions on the increase of security: some like it, some don’t. However, according to Ara, the protocols aren’t made to please the students, they’re made to protect them.

“The safety is the number one concern in every single academic institution, so we have to make sure that all students feel safe,” Ara said.

Though there has been an increase in security at Lane, Ara feels that Lane has always been a safe school.

“We’re just tightening the screws,” Ara said.

However, security guards aren’t the only ones keeping the building safe, according to Smith.

“For every one student that I have that might not follow a rule or procedure I might want done, I have about 50 other that do,” Smith said. “Just as much as I’m keeping the building safe, the students are too.”

Correction: The April print issue of The Warrior stated the only school entrances will be Door A and Door M, but it is actually Door M and Door D. 

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