Student safety proves being a priority for Mission Hills

Many measures are taken to enforce a sense of safety on campus for students.


Photo by Itzel Alonso

Security cameras can be found all around campus as an effort to ensure the safety of students.

Student safety is of utmost importance at any school district. Parents should be able to send their kids to school without the fear of something terrible happening on campus and students should feel safe coming to school. On an everyday basis Mission Hills security is sufficient, but on some incidents it can be found lacking as our camera surveillance is almost nonexistent.
“I have a lot of respect for the security guards on campus. They work really hard to try to keep all of us safe, but I know it can be difficult with so many students to watch all of us at once,” freshmen Jovani Badillo said.
Campus security guards have shown a genuine interest in the safety of staff and students and do the best they can with the parameters they are given to them by the district. They patrol the halls, watch over students, and check on various things throughout the day. However, they can not be everywhere all at once to observe things that are going on.
“The most important part of security protocols are the relationships that staff have with students and that students have with staff. If a student sees something they should feel comfortable enough to say something to someone, whether it’s a security guard, teacher, or school counselor. It’s important to have those comfortable relationships so that there is an ease about speaking up when needed,” said Nathan Baker, principal.
Throughout the school year, numerous incidents have occured and security concerns from lack of camera surveillance haven’t been addressed. At the time of an incident, many complaints are brought up, but no actions are taken to rectify the issue. The matter then fizzles out until the next incident occurs and the cycle continues.

We need to do a better job of creating an environment where students feel comfortable reporting.

— Principal Baker

“Working cameras are an important part of security anywhere because they present a second set of eyes to monitor what is going on around campus. Cameras can certainly [watch unsupervised areas] and allow us the opportunity to go back and review security footage from incidents that might happen so that we can identify and apprehend suspects as needed. Without a 21st century camera system that covers all parts of this campus this school has a lot of area for improvement,” said Dan Settle, Criminal Justice teacher.
While admin has worked to replace some cameras, there still remains older cameras that don’t have all the same functions and capabilities.

“We are consistently looking at our camera system because it is one aspect for several key components of our school security system. We don’t rely on cameras alone, those relationships with staff and students is also a huge part. Looking at cameras after the fact is always helpful but not our only plan. We do look at upgrades to our cameras, from time to time, we recently got newer cameras that we can zoom in and cover more area. We do have older cameras that can’t do those maneuvers, but their pictures are still good,” said Nathan Baker, principal.
Social and emotional issues for students have become a forefront due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down schools and altering how students learn. Missing out on those two years has certainly been a factor in the behaviors of students on and around campus. Having more security can help to keep a better temperature of what is going on with students individually and the student population as a whole.
“Fights occur everyday whether we hear about them or not due to staffing issues,” Settle said. “The camera system we currently have in place is substandard. I usually hear about [fights] from students who tell me about them, as opposed to hearing about them first hand, but nonetheless they occur, and we can definitely be more proactive about changes to help improve this.”

Going into the next school year, admin has plans to further their security and safety plans on campus.

In addition to the cameras on campus, there are many members of staff tasked with keeping students safe. (Photo by Itzel Alonso)

“The training that our safety team completed last year [allows] for those who are now trained to be trainers for other staff. Going into the next school year we have plans to continue to train more staff, eventually getting to a point where all staff are trained for emergency response. We need to do a better job of creating an environment where students feel comfortable reporting,” Principal Baker said.
Students being more accountable, having an understanding of the rules and the consequences can improve the overall campus temperament; however, the district also needs to take actions in order to rectify this issue. Improving the camera system, and hiring more security guards can help lead to a better learning environment for not only students, but also staff members. With better security students learn better because they feel protected, and staff are able to focus on students and their education rather than safety concerns and keeping students safe.