In the Dec. 19 edition of the Observer-Reporter, it stated that Trinity High School had an armed security officer. Trinity has no security officer and has not had one for two years. Trinity High School is not a secure building.
I have for the past three years been adamant in trying to make this building safe for its students to no avail. Convenience is more important to the administration. Until this school year, every door in the building was unlocked to convenience students and teachers. Finally this year, one other school board member and myself, after two years of insistence, had all the doors locked but two. The two were to be manned to monitor those entering the building. Only on occasion had this happened. When indoor events take place, all doors are unlocked and unmonitored. Anyone is free to roam the halls and could lay in wait or plant an explosive and no one would be the wiser.
We fought to no avail to get alarms placed on every door. The administration objects to them, saying they were too much of an inconvenience for teachers or principals to turn them off if activated. The administration insists that unlike other schools whose students must enter and exit through the main doors, our students need to be able to go out any doors to retrieve things from their cars, take photos and get musical instruments, among other reasons. Students continue to prop open the doors in order to enter and exit as they please. Teachers lend them their swipe cards, Even after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut, students were still entering the building by doors that were propped open. There are cameras on these doors and it is common knowledge that this goes on, yet nothing is done to stop it, despite attempts by the Trinity school board. Common sense tells you that if students were being disciplined, they would not be doing it every day. We have doors that do not automatically latch when closed.
We had an incident recently where a student at Trinity East Elementary School brought a steak knife to school. Even though we have a zero-tolerance policy, the teacher just told the student to take it home. The policy was not followed by the teacher, the principal or the superintendent. This was kept secret until a concerned parent informed a board member of it. We were told it was not our concern. The knife was not confiscated, conveniently, so there is no evidence, even though the teacher and other students saw it. The school’s reputation was more important than the objective of the policy.
For three years, there have been people who have loudly voiced their concerns on athletic issues, but none on safety issues. Maybe now, with the Sandy Hook tragedy, parents will start insisting that we secure our school. Are we that certain that this cannot happen at the high school? Are we that certain that there is not that one student who would use the opportunity to exit the building and get a gun or an explosive? The school board members who care about the safety of students need your help to get it done.
Clutter is a member of the Trinity Area School Board.