Students Consider Campus Security Measures


Unknown security guard stands in front of school. Art by Jocelyn Urbina

Eastside campus displays a positive, friendly and safe environment. It is a closed campus, where students are not allowed to exit during the school day, primarily to decrease tardiness in classes.

Most students feel safe with this approach and don’t want to see any additional obvious security measures, such as guards or locked gates. But some worry about safety on campus due to the lack of professional authority on campus during the day, and they believe that having a guard would help.

“There should be at least one guard that secures the campus other than Helen or Chris,” said sophomore Jose Yopihua. “It would make everyone safer and with a guard it is more reassuring.”

Vice Principal Helen Kim said students often come to her office worriedly letting her know about someone who looks ‘suspicious,’ but most of the time the person is just a visitor on campus for sports games.

“I think the highest part of our security is that most teachers know all the students,” Helen said. “And eventually all the students know each other. So when there are individuals who are on campus who are not familiar, students, adults and teachers can usually identify them pretty quickly.”

In the 2014-15 school year, EPA Academy opened across the street and concern arose over how to recognize EPAA students who might come on campus. The new rule became that students had to wear Eastside T-shirts or other gear visible at all times. At first, some students opposed the uniform. Over time, the purpose of the uniform became more of a way to spread school pride more than to insure security.

Dangerous situations have been rare over the years, and handled smoothly. On Nov. 27, 2013, for example, gunshots were fired in a house across the street, and Eastside went into a lockdown. Staff communicated with each other through text to make sure students were all safe and sound. After police came and emptied the home, students felt safer.

Usually, Eastside practices safety drills three times a year but students have noticed that there hasn’t been a safety drill year practiced so far in this semester.

“I think implementing them more, will help people, and just in general, feel a more sense of safety,” said senior Lizette Hernandez.

Moving to the dorms this year made Lizette nervous at night. Her anxiety lowered when she learned that a security guard comes by three times a night between 10 a.m and 6 a.m. Her mother did not worry much at first because private schools are considered “safer” and have more security measures than some public schools.

This year, additional checks of people coming to volleyball games at the gym were instituted, but that was due to COVID-19 precautions rather than security concerns.