What Does Security At East Really Look Like?
Between hall passes and IDs, it seems like East has implemented many new policies to promote security over the last couple of years. As a junior, I have experienced what seems like almost 100 safe-to-tell threats, consistent bomb, and shooter threats, a SWAT investigation, and have been escorted out of the school by armed police. It is clear that East High School needs more security.
In hopes to increase security at East, the school implemented its ID policy which in theory would mean nobody could get into the school without being a student or faculty member (with the exception of allowed visitors). Although the ID policy had been in the works for years, after increasing threats for multiple weeks last year they finally implemented it. Now when we walk into the school, IDs have to be shown and if you don’t have one, you have to pay $5 for a new print. However, this is not how the ID policy is actually enforced. The deans and assistant principals monitor the doors in the mornings before school starts and at the front door after lunch. However, this doesn’t account for any other time of day when I have just been let into the school without showing my ID. And even when I have forgotten my ID, it is easy to just keep walking to class without getting a new one, and it is done by almost every student I’ve seen forget an ID. If the ID policy can be avoided by East students, then it can for sure be worked around by people who are not supposed to be in the building. While a solution to this would be to ask the safety officers to monitor the doors, according to Shawne Anderson, they are employees of DPS rather than the school so the deans and assistant principals cannot ask them to do things.
Along with a lack of security within access to the building, I see a lack of security among in-house East incidents. For example, at the end of last year as I was leaving the foyer at the end of the day when I was thrown into the doors of the auditorium as a fight broke out. Two girls were hitting each other, pulling hair, and even ended up on the ground. The fight ended with one of the deans pulling the girls apart and inserting herself in the middle of the fight. According to the Denver Public Schools website, “The primary function of a CSO is to provide proactive safety services for the campus to ensure students…have a secure learning environment by intervening in/and resolving any potential or actual disruptive threats or activity. However during this fight, not one of the safety officers was around. While in theory there are people in the school to monitor and prevent violence and safety issues, I only see the deans handling this rather than the safety officers. So then are these DPS officials actually ensuring safety? It seems to me that they are fulfilling the same jobs as the deans, whose jobs are not to carry-out safety procedures but they end up doing it anyway.
The recent incident involving the unsubstantiated shooter threat served as an exposition of what safety measures at East really are. After being notified of a fake call from a teacher reporting a shooter in the building, Denver police showed up at East in under five minutes. But, what did the safety officers do and what could have happened in that amount of time? Based on my experience the DPS officers played no role in securing the school and it became a waiting game for the police to show up. Assistant Principal Shawne Anderson also answered in an interview that the DPS safety officers have no direct role in lockdown threats and that they actually lock down with the rest of the school. However, I was told that the safety officers were supposed to make sure school was a safe place, but if they don't have a role when things get tough, are they? This is not adequate security.
East high school needs new security measures and effective personnel, what we have is not enough.