Inconsistent Safety Standards at Santiago

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Inconsistent Safety Standards at Santiago

Zac Farley, Staff Writer

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Since the Columbine School Shooting back in 1999, high school campuses across the nation have been on alert; Santiago High School is no exception.

Santiago claims to be dedicated to school safety, and I have no doubt of benevolent intentions. However, there are plenty of issues and inconsistencies regarding their standards. These are the five safety tips provided by Principal Seth Bond in Santiago’s Lockdown Drill Information Video.

  1.    Wear ID badges at all times.
  2.    Report any suspicious activities, rumors, threats social media posts, or anything of concern.
  3.    Do not spread rumors or share social media rumors.
  4.    Do not joke about making threats towards Santiago.
  5.    Take all drills seriously. Know the concept of Run-Hide-Fight.

Santiago began to require that all students display their ID badges at all times at the beginning of my Freshman year, back in 2015. However, after about two weeks, security guards and teachers failed to uphold the standards they had implored students to meet. Personally, I find this mandatory display to be a bit of a hassle, but if the requirement has been established, it should be maintained. Just last semester, I arrived late to school; I drove into the Senior Parking lot and slowed to tell the security guard that I was late. I asked if she needed to see my ID. Her response was a simple, “no, go ahead,” and I continued driving to Junior Lot. This may not seem like a big deal – my car has a parking sticker, after all – but the fact that a security guard would allow anyone with an easily replicable sticker to enter the campus without batting an eye is quite surprising.

Reporting suspicious activities, et cetera? That’s a great standard to hold, but it’s extremely difficult for some students, especially underclassmen, to find a trusted adult on campus to whom they could report information. The internet has never been a place that can be entirely trusted, and many students may fear that their concerns will be deemed as an overreaction. With constant social pressure surrounding thousands of students on campus, the possibility of being considered someone that’s scared of what turns out to be nothing but a harmless joke might be a legitimate fear.

Highlighting the fact that spreading rumors is a bad idea? It’s a great method of curbing fears and only allowing legitimate threats to be addressed; but then, what really is legitimate? If rumors are “only rumors,” then how can students know what to report and what to merely ignore? Tips #2 and #3 almost completely contradict one another.

It was a good decision for Mr. Bond to express that joking about threatening the school is unacceptable, and I agree with his point; however, where is the line drawn with humor related to such a sensitive topic? Finding methods to cope with an underlying dread that a school shooting could occur any day of the week might be extremely difficult for some students, and humor, albeit dark and possibly distasteful, could be an outlet for teenagers. This topic is a far more convoluted issue and may be a bit more difficult to address.

In all honesty, it makes sense that Santiago’s standard in the case of a lockdown is to merely shift the “Lock Blok,” turn off the lights, and hide out of sight while we wait for the “all clear.” This is the standard for schools across the nation, but students aren’t the ones that need to take these drills seriously. Many of our teachers fail to follow protocol and consider drills to be nothing but an inconvenience. Consistency is key if Santiago wants to uphold their standards of safety; but if our educators, most of whom are widely respected by the student body, decide to neglect their responsibilities, safety is clearly exemplified as a low priority.

Santiago is certainly focused on safety, and I’m aware that faculty and administrators want the best for students; if we don’t address a lack of consistency, however, our campus may not be as safe as we want it to be.

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