Student safety and security are FHC’s number one concern

Student+safety+and+security+are+FHC%27s+number+one+concern

From August to June, FHC has hundreds of students, staff members, and other community members walking in and out of its many doors. The task of keeping track of who is and isn’t in the building is a daunting one, but FHC’s faculty has taken great precautions to keep all of the students safe.

Within the last few years, buzzer systems with cameras have been installed at each door so the office knows who is walking into the doors. This school year, however, they took things a step further; in order to get in the door, whether you are a student or a parent, you have to present identification—either a school ID or driver’s license. The idea behind this was to make our school as safe as possible.

“We want to know not only when folks are entering the building,” said assistant principal Whitley Morse, “but who they are and what they are doing.”

The school not only has students leaving for instances like dentist appointments and doctor visits, but they also have kids coming and going for school-related programs like Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics programs—also known as STEM—and Kent Career Technical Center programs— more commonly known as KCTC—which makes the task of knowing who is in the building a tad bit harder.

“We took [the security precautions] a step further just because with so many kids coming and going and late starts and [leaving] early we just needed to know [who is in the building at certain points],” Morse said.

A lot of you look like adults so it’s hard to identify whether you’re a student here or whether you’re from the outside”

— Steve Yonker

Along with students needing to remember to carry around their IDs, parents also have to remember to bring an ID—like a driver’s license—whether they are dropping off a forgotten instrument or misplaced project.

“I think parents may have a little bit of a challenge [remembering to show IDs],” Morse said. “I think often parents are coming in to drop off a lunch and they may not always have their IDs.”

And although students should have already been carrying around their school IDs they still had to transition just as much as the parents when this new rule was put in place.

“I know [this] has been a big transition for students just because they have to have their ID,” said School Security Guard Steve Yonker. “A lot of you look like adults so it’s hard to identify whether you’re a student here or whether you’re from the outside.”

As a school security guard, it’s Yonker’s job to know who is in the building and all the new precautions that have been installed and instigated over the past few years have only made his job easier.

“[From] my standpoint, it’s been great just from the standpoint of knowing they have either checked in at the main office if they are someone who doesn’t come to this building,” Yonker said. “ If it is a student we know they are checking in to the main office if they come back from an appointment.”

Aside from the obvious positives of this rule, like at all times knowing who is in the building, this new rule that’s been put in place has helped make it easier to get the to know those students who leave every day for programs like STEM and KCTC.

“By them having their IDs on them, whether they are checking in [or checking out in the office], the secretaries get an idea of who is coming and who is going with our KCTC kids,” Yonker said. “That way we know who is leaving every day.”

Although the new rule of having to show ID at all the doors has helped the office staff get to know students better while also having a better idea of who is in the building the buzzer systems have also played a key part in that as well.

“The buzzer system [has] a lot to do with trying to keep everyone safe,” Yonker said. “We are just trying to make sure, with the buzzer system, that [we know] who is in this building at all times.”

With everything going in the world outside, you can never be too careful, but that doesn’t mean the new rule is not a pain to have to follow. Like the cell phone policy, students have not loved having to deal with yet another new change this year.

“It’s hard when you are late and you are going in, and let’s say you don’t have your ID card, and [the secretaries] are like ‘no, you need your ID,’” said sophomore Reyna Dominczak. “You are wasting even more time searching through your stuff to find your ID. It’s inconvenient.”

As inconvenient as it can be to remember to bring an extra thing to school each day or dig through your backpack until you can find the ID sitting at the bottom, the school has its students’ safety as a top priority.

“I think, God forbid if anything were to happen, we want to know we [have] done as much as we can to keep students safe,” Morse said.