New security measures to restrict access to campus

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Mabel Kabani, print news editor

(As seen in the print edition)

After discussing the high school’s security measures, the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) has decided to restrict and limit access to the grounds of the high school by upping the school’s security and surveillance systems.

“Altering school security has been a topic of discussion among the district for about 10 years,” Superintendent Dr. Gary Woods said. “We finally decided that it was time to act and are now working on imposing the means that will limit visitor access to the school.”

Though the high school is proud of its open campus, it can, according to Woods, pose a threat to the safety of staff and students.

“Nothing is more important than assuring faculty and students that where they arrive every day is a safe place,” Assistant Principal Toni Staser said. “These tragic instances that have been taking place in schools all around the country are not the primary motivation for these security changes, but they do remind school districts to prepare, reevaluate and maybe even improve their current security.”

The district has called for the building of multiple interior perimeters within the school, in addition to “working on gates and doors and tightening fence openings around the school,” according to Woods.

“We want to create an interior pathway for students to walk to and from different parts of the school,” Woods said. “Instead of having to walk outside the science building or in front of the lawn, we want students to have access to anywhere they want to go by traveling within the school, and that’s what the perimeter will help accomplish.”

Locking doors to limit only one point of entrance for students and visitors will also help weed out unwanted visitors. According to Woods, crash bars will also be implemented, which will allow students to leave the building using doors, but prevent visitors from entering the building without alarms going off.

In addition, visitors will have designated parking, most likely, according to Staser, in the swim-gym lot. “Designating parking and creating a singular area of entrance will help control and restrict foot and car traffic around the school,” Staser said. “There will probably be a gate around the North entrance in order to augment areas around the campus that have high traffic.”

However, the largest change to the campus, according to Woods, is the kiosk that will be stationed on top of the front lawn.

“There will be security guards within the structure at all times that will have complete control over those who enter the school,” Woods said. “[The kiosk] will contain electricity, phone lines and video surveillance with a 360 degree view of its surroundings.”

The estimated cost for all the new security measures, according to Woods, will be $250,000 that will be extracted from Measure E funds that are created to aid schools in regards to security and architecture.

Though the plan to secure the school from plausible danger is underway, certain students feel that the district is

taking unnecessary courses of action. “We live in such a safe area that I don’t know if establishing a watchtower on the lawn or having an interior perimeter within the school is really necessary,” junior Sam Levy said. “Why introduce concepts that don’t need to be introduced?” Senior Max Parnia also does not believe that the school needs to “become so stringent with its security.”

However, some students, like the administration, believe that it is better to be safe than sorry.

“I would rather come to school with tighter security than have to face the fatal consequences of not having any security at all,” junior Paloma Bloch said.

Though certain students do not see benefits of additional security measures, Staser believes that the district and school need to be prepare for possible dangers and be proactive in matters concerning security.

Construction is expected to begin during the summer of 2013, and changes are expected to be enacted at the start of the 2013-2014 school year.

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