In today’s society, it is nothing new to hear of a school shooting occuring; in 2018 alone there have been 17 school shootings. Accordingly, concern about school safety issues around the nation have increasingly grown over the past few years as the numbers of school shootings continue to increase.
As The Albuquerque Journal and many other news stations reported in New Mexico just weeks after the shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, state legislation was signed into law for millions of dollars to be set apart for advancing school safety measures. The APS school district requested an estimated thirteen million dollars to be used to update security measures at APS schools. Out of the list of schools receiving money, Sandia sits fifth out of thirteen high schools for requesting the most money for updates. Sandia is planning on receiving about $306,557 in total funds for updates. Ms. Amy Lissick, vice principal of buildings and grounds said “The strongest use of our money is camera coverage.”
Over the summer, Sandia installed new security cameras around the school campus and they aim to add more for additional security. Along with those updates, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI now have access to Sandia’s security systems. Ms. Lissick commented she believes that “because they can access our computer systems, and our security systems, they can see for themselves where an issue might take place and be able to respond more directly to the exact scenario in the exact position.”
Though this news may seem alarming to students, the Bernalillo County Sheriff’s department and the FBI having access to security systems are to aid in not wasting time in any possible emergency situation and to resolve the situation quicker to enhance the campus’ security and safety.
According to Ms. Lissick, “If people know that we’re a secure campus and we can see what they're doing and we can be actionable then I think they are less likely to do anything because there will be ramifications for it.” On top of the added security cameras, Sandia will be changing all locks on classroom doors so teachers can lock their doors from the inside instead of just from the outside in case of an emergency situation. However, no matter how many security updates the school may be adding, the most important factor of the student body’s safety is awareness of what to do in case of an emergency situation.
When it comes to the Yucca Trail and students who may be in transition to or from that building during an emergency, Ms. Lissick said, “We are always trying to problem solve how to secure students in that particular area.” She went on to explain that the school leadership believes that student’s being knowledgeable of how to deal with emergency situations is the best solution for a campus that was not built for the current issue of school violence. Knowing what action to take in an emergency is “our most powerful way to improve safety at this time,” she said.
The Sandia Administration, as a whole, has given a lot of thought to how to best ensure the student body’s safety, and though they do not expect an emergency situation to arise, the administration has asserted that they have taken and will take all precautionary measures available to give the students at Sandia the best protection possible from any potential attacks.