From lockdown to lock downed

How has the school safety changed from the lockdown last year?

Kadija Rhuma, Reporter

     On Monday, March 5th 2018 River City high school was under lockdown around 9:00 am. On this day, the school received a voicemail that threatened to blow up the school.


     A year later, the school installed new gates and better cameras. Even though this is a step in the right direction, others believe the school should try harder in making sure they ensure more safety.


     Nika Vrkash, now a sophomore, expressed how the school could definitely improve their safety.


     ¨No, maybe I mean keeping outsiders locked out of school I guess but I mean you can’t really tell if somebody has something in their backpack. The gates keep us safe from outsiders but not inside. People can go through the office or they can hop the gate or something,¨ Nika expressed.


     Ms. Kristin Rodriguez, assistant principal at the high school responded back to Vrkash.


     “ I worked in a school district once not here but where we had metal detectors and those can be effective but at the same time there was still incidents in those schools with metal detectors where people were able to get around the metal detectors sometimes if people want to hurt people they are going to try and do it and so metal detectors are good but what really is helpful is to make make sure we have a community on campus that values safety and has a family kind of relationship…,¨ Ms. Rodriguez had stated. ¨The metal detectors aren’t the foolproof thing but it does help when we have a community on campus that is willing to say ´Hey I saw this kid doing something that he shouldn’t have been doing and it’s not okay´ and I think when we get there then we are going to be better off than if we had metal detectors or stuff like that,¨ Ms. Rodriguez said.


     Other than the gates the school has also contacted a consulting firm that specializes in helping the school in school safety and safety protocols.


     ¨One of the things what we have done in addition to the gates is the school district hired a consulting firm that specializes in school safety and so even though we have always had emergency evacuations plans like fire drill plans, earthquake plans and flood plans… we have a consulting firm coming in to review all of those things with us so that somebody who is actually a professional at setting all of that up has a hand in giving us some advice in what to do next…,” Ms. Rodriguez said.


     Even though the school has definitely took a right step in the right direction for more safety this year, there is still anger towards the school for not being prepared. Vrkash shares  just how upset her mother was with the school.


     ¨My mom was not mad at me but at the school, the faculty and the fact that we had an actual lockdown scared her, “ Vrkash says.


     Not only was Vrkash’ mom feeling that way, but also was Tim O´Donnell, an English teacher at River City.


     ¨I think the way the campus is set up invites suspicious behavior and before the lockdown I don’t think the school was taking into consideration the holes in their safety plan…the idea of the crash bars on the gates and having the gates locked on the outside but you can exit the campus from the inside is something that teachers have been suggesting for a long time and the administration responds saying that it is way to expensive for them to do it,¨


     O’Donnell then goes on to expressed his frustration towards the school.


     ¨It was frustrating that it took a pretty significant incident to change their minds about that. We were ignored for a very long time until it had been a donager, a risk. It’s always been a risk,¨ O´Donnell states.


     Ms. Rodriguez understood that this was a very serious issue and now she and the rest of the school district understand more action needs to be taken to make sure this incident does not happen again in the future.


     ¨The incident that happened last year where we ended up with the lockdown was a really eye opening experience for the high school and most of the school district because I don’t think they have never had an incident where they had to send kids home in the middle of the day where they have had to figure out how to get them to the bathrooms or how to get them food or anything like that so it was a really good experience mainly because nothing really happened but we were able to figure out what to fix,¨ Rodriguez says.