Implement New Security Policies
REASON: A recent incident has been brought up regarding a 5th-grader shooting another student on the leg with a realistic-looking BB gun that he supposedly had in possession in his backpack for two days. This incident was initially only reported to all 5th-grade parents and was INTENTIONALLY HIDDEN FROM THE REST OF THE PARENTS IN SCHOOL.
PROBLEM: I had to personally send an email to the principal voicing my concern that ALL parents should've been informed immediately after the incident was reported. Only then did he send out a notice.
Based on my email conversations with the principal, he downplays the incident because it is a "toy," but I want to emphasize that just because it is a “toy” it doesn’t mean it can’t cause bodily harm. A “realistic-looking” BB gun is enough reason to put panic into the masses and definitely enough to get the attention of police officers.
Below are some links regarding BB guns being brought to school and its consequences:
Although, and luckily, this incident did not seriously injure a person this time, it could’ve been a worse situation. What if this was intentional and this kid brought the weapon to school for a reason other than to show it off? What if this was a real gun?
SOLUTION: While there are no 100% incident-proof solutions, with the world the way it is nowadays and with all these mass shootings happening everywhere, we should be implementing preventive measures and new security policies and protocols to improve our school's overall safety.
Below are some security issues that need improvement:
1) Security Cameras - while it is a good tool to monitor activity, it is more of a simple deterrent to keep “certain” people away. By “certain” I mean the type of people who are easily persuaded to turn away, however, an armed assailant or disgruntled parent with the intention of hurting people will walk past those cameras and ignore them while they make their way into the school. That security camera will only be useful after-the-fact. In addition, I don’t think anyone is ALWAYS monitoring the camera feed, which renders it almost useless since there is no one to enforce security.
2) Gate Passcode - The purpose of the gate was to prevent certain people from getting in. Why is it that EVERYONE knows what the code is? Why is the code so simple that even the students know it and blurt it out to the public during pick-up? This defeats the whole purpose of having a gate, to begin with.
3) Front Gate - this is never closed during school hours. We understand that there are people who attend mass or use the church for events like the donations for the homeless, etc., but this also allows ANYONE to come into the school premises both unannounced and unmonitored.
4) Loitering - Random people loitering around the school campus. One specific incident I can recall is when a “suspicious” young man was hiding behind the dumpster area during pick-up. When confronted by one of the parents, she was told that he was only there to collect trash. I want to assure you that I have no problem with homeless people as I had volunteered to serve them in the past, but when random people start hiding and looking suspiciously like that, it’s a concern that needs to be addressed.
5) Incident Reporting - the BB gun incident is an example of this. It was not reported to all parents.
6) Check-in Process - it is unsure if the main entrance to the office leading to the classrooms stays unlock during school hours. Anyone can come in with the intentions of harming others. Visitors don't wear proper labels like lanyards that identify them.
Security Camera - Security cameras should be monitored by a security guard during school hours.
Gate Passcode - Gate passcodes changes daily/weekly or that only the school staff/security guard should have access to them to allow parents to enter.
Front Gate - A security guard should monitor people who step on the school grounds and have them check-in appropriately.
Loitering - No one should be allowed to loiter around the school and anyone who does should be asked to leave immediately, especially during school hours. Again, a security guard on post or patrolling the school can assist in this.
Incident Reporting - serious incidents that concern the safety of all students should be reported to ALL parents.
Check-in Process - the entrance doors to the office should remain lock during school hours and visitors should be buzzed-in, verified and then given a Visitor ID for easy identification.
Mandatory Gun Safety/Preventions Class - there should be a mandatory semi-annual gun safety/preventions class or presentation hosted by the Hayward Police Department.
SUMMARY: We can't stand idly by thinking that a Sandy Hook incident will never happen to us because I'm pretty certain that the parents of those 20 beautiful kids thought the same. There is no such thing as being paranoid nowadays. It's better to be safe than sorry.
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