The Devils' Advocate

School security more important than ever

Officer Jones is the Hammonton High School on site police officer that is in the building at all times.

Jeni Leonardo and Megan Walker

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Kentucky: the latest state to suffer the tragedy of a school shooting on January 23 when a 16 year old boy opened fire, injuring 18 students and fatally wounding two. “The first fatal shooting of 2018” upset many, especially given the long list of events like this in the United States.  

Who can forget Sandy Hook on December 14, 2012, when Adam Lanza, a mentally ill man, started shooting in an elementary school in Newport, Connecticuit, shooting at least 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7. Six adult staff members were also killed. Cases like Columbine and Virginia Tech, among dozens of others, make it real concern.

This prompts the question: How prepared is Hammonton for such a tragedy?

Hammonton High School takes many safety precautions that aren’t widely known by the student body.

According to principal Mr. Tom Ramsay, there are certain things that are out in the open, that students’ see everyday, but never understand why they are there. There is even more that goes on behind the scenes.

For instance, has anyone notice the colored dots around the school? These dots indicate for the police to be able to navigate through the school and know where they’re going. Each hall is color coded for east reference. Additionally, each exit door is labeled with a specific number that allows police to figure out which exit to go into. If a certain exit is blocked, police will know exactly which doors are blocked, and which they can go into to fix the issue.

According to Officer Jones, not many schools are fortunate to have a campus officer that walks through the halls and is prepared for any conflict. Having a police officer also leads to having quick and direct contact with the police station.

“Because the police are in the building, we can respond almost instantaneously,” he said.

The state requires schools to participate in monthly drills that allow students to know what to do in case of a specific type of situation: fire drills, code red drills, and active shooter drills, among others. There are lockdown drills that teach one how to act if there is an intruder in the building. Evacuation drills and fire drills allow us to understand the correct way to exit the building in case of anything.

Hammonton High School also contains its own security system. The system is set up at all exits/entries. There are the specified stickers located in the windows as well. This alerts every outsider that we are secure and ready for any incident. It is used not only for protection, but to fear others as well. 

Student perceptions of security vary.

“I appreciate that the doors are locked,” said senior Blaise Fisher. “I do get nervous that students who once attended here know our routines. They know what we do. But I do feel safe with the teachers. I think they know what to do.”

For senior Pat Costa, the community makes him feel safe.

“I feel like Hammonton is a pretty safe community,” he said. “I don’t worry about it much.”

The school shootings that occurred around the world has many fearing what Hammonton High School would do if any horrible incident were to occur. Overall, the school has many ways of keeping everything safe and secure.

 

 

 

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School security more important than ever