Local schools respond to concerns with safety measures

By Melissa Mastrogiovanni

The issue of school safety was recently brought to the forefront of national news when a Lost Angeles student brought a gun to school.

On Jan. 18, a gun discharged inside of a student’s backpack at Garden High School, 1301 West 182nd St. in Gardena, California.

Two students were injured, and the student suspected of having the gun was taken into police custody.

In response to recent reports like this, school districts implement a variety of safety measures to ensure the safety of their students.

“We have a comprehensive safety plan,” said Doug Moeller, DeKalb High School Principal. “In addition to fire drills and tornado drills, we also have lock down drills that are specifically designed as if there was an intruder in the building.”

The school also has security personnel, an on-site police officer and procedures for visitors compliance. Visitors are required to sign in upon entry and submit a picture ID to be held by the school for the duration of their visit.

“Our administration and certainly our school board have a number of safety measures in place,” said Mike Verbic, District 428 School Board President. “Our middle schools and high schools have a deterrent, such as camera recording systems, so our students and faculty know our camera system is in place to promote the safety of our schools.”

Alan Clemens, Leadership, Educational Psychology and Foundations instructor, said it is unclear whether school shootings occur more frequently now or if they are just being reported in higher numbers.

“People have always had a fascination with behavior that they haven’t seen all the time,” Clemens said . “We pay attention to high-profile cases because it helps us deal with ourselves.”