Thursday, February 4, 2010

District 150 taking a serious look at school security

Hidden in a story about renovations to Peoria High School is a very important tidbit about school security at the newly consolidated school. The pjstar reports that both district and school officials from Peoria High and Woodruff have met with officials from the Peoria police and fire departments, District 150 security and the park district. They also have met with a nationally known expert in school security, Michael Dorn, collaborating on what's in place and what is needed.

Their recommendations include a new glass wall inside the front entrance, requiring all visitors to go through the office to enter the building; more than 20 new security cameras; additional lighting; and re-examining how students enter and exit the building. The plans show costs at an estimated $825,000 in security and technology upgrades.


Sharon Crews said...

How do we all interpret "security"--to be secure from those who shouldn't be allowed in or to be "secure" from those who belong and disrupt, etc.? Security from those without hasn't been a major problem--those are the once in a blue moon events. But what good are security cameras that pick up on unwanted behaviors by students--if those behaviors are not subject to meaningful consequences? Also, who is going to monitor these cameras--will anyone really see the day-to-day "indiscretions" of students? A whole lot of money to spend if the technology isn't utilized to improve discipline.

Rixblix said...

When I first started teaching at my school, I was a bit concerned about safety...after all, mine are students who have been expelled from their 'regular' schools for any number of offenses.

I will concede that the dynamic at my alternative school might not be the same as that at a more urban (Peoria) school. But I'm 100% certain that the attitude among the student body is the same. "Treat us like thugs, hoodlums and criminals, that's how we'll behave."

My experience has shown that the vast majority of students come to school to learn. At the very least they come to school because they understand that there's something about being at school that's better than the alternative.

More cameras, more security officers, more metal detectors...those things won't make schools safer. The problems are deeply entrenched and far-reaching. Disenfranchisement, lack of community, apathy. Cameras and metal detectors won't fix that stuff.

Sharon Crews said...

Rixblix, I agree--anyone who wants to do real harm (planned) will find a way to outfox all the security--that's part of the challenge. The African-American freshman who is my "borrowed" granddaughter (whose father is a 150 teacher) was randomly selected as one on which to use a metal detector at Richwoods recently. She didn't take offense--thought it was funny, but she doesn't wear any kind of chip on her shoulder, loves school, etc. However, I was a bit taken aback when I heard about it. Peoria High should probably have been a bit quieter about all the security measures they are putting in place. I know of one parent who is now having misgivings about sending her daughter to PHS as a freshman next year--nervous that the powers that be are acknowledging the need for security. All that said, I believe Peoria High will be a problem next year--but "discipline," not security, is the problem that is not being addressed.