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The Shen Pen

High School Makes Security Improvements


Schools out and summers in. The halls of Shenendehowa High School East are empty. There’s no bells ringing or cafeteria chatter, but the school administration is already working hard for the upcoming school year on various safety initiatives for the Shenendehowa High School. 

In such troubling times regarding the topic of school safety, increased security is more important than ever. Ron Agostinoni, the principal of High School East said he is well aware of this unfortunate reality. During the summer, while preparing for the upcoming school year, he designated an unprecedented amount of time to work on the safety system implemented in the school. 

  During Mr. A’s  meeting with Shen’s security company, they completed a security walk throughout the High School East campus to identify blind areas and scout potential spots to set up additional security cameras. 

In addition to specific preparation, the school makes sure to run numerous drills that cover many circumstances. The extensive security system combined with the school staff’s ability to adapt to security situations intends to create a secure environment for students and staff. 

As the school year progresses, the administration has not fallen short on their promise for a safer and secure school campus and environment. With numerous fire, lock-down, and shelter-in-place drills already taking place, the efforts to prepare students and staff for worse-case scenarios are apparent. 

Despite these implementations, the students of Shenendehowa High School still have concerns for the safety and security of their school. 

Senior Megan Guyer identifies the reality of school shootings and feels like the staff and students could benefit from increased school security.

“We should get better security, and increase staff training on how to be more aware of threats,” they said. 

“There should also be more availability of exits for us to leave the school in case of an emergency,” 

On the contrary, junior Walter Swenton feels confident in the preparation given by the school.

“In the case of an emergency, we are prepared enough for this case. I think any more preparation would instigate panic,” he said.

Steve Davidson, Shen’s head librarian, is faced with a unique task in the event of a lockdown. Since he doesn’t oversee a specific class with a roster, he needs to be able to adapt to the range of students in the library. Additionally, the library’s open-door system means that librarians need to be on the lookout for students coming in and out frequently, especially those that shouldn’t be there. 

“We find out relatively quickly who this person is and we do spend time checking the cameras and things like that if it is a potential concern,” he said. 

However, Davidson notes how difficult it is to fully keep track of the amount of students within the library, especially amidst the panic of an emergency.

“I’ve worked through the fact that this is our reality, because I can have 200 people in here. So we need time to figure out details, such as how long it takes to get everybody in the back. How long it takes to get everybody out if needed. These are the logistics that seem minor, but in an urgent situation, become a big concern,” he said. 

A commitment to safety is something Shenendehowa Administration prides itself on, and working together is crucial to ensure that.

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