School safety concerns lowered with new reforms

Erin Jacobs

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Photo by Hannah Markov

New safety procedures require that doors be open before school begins and closed thereafter. Students are encouraged to never open doors during the school day.

Amid student and parent concerns following the multiple school shootings that took place last school year, MCPS is looking to make school safety a top priority. For this upcoming year, WJ is looking to enforce stricter security rules that will affect students day to day.

Students from Montgomery County made national headlines after protesting in the nation’s capital for increased gun control. It has been made clear that they are looking for real change  in order to prevent any tragedies from hitting our own community.

Superintendent Dr. Jack Smith addressed the worries that are still very prominent following the deadly shooting at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last February.

“We asked a lot of students last year about security and they gave us a lot of good ideas,” Dr. Smith said. “When a student is really struggling, we all know it, and something ought to be done long before the point where they break and do something violent in the school. We shouldn’t be complacent. We should be constantly vigilant in watching the hallways.”

Along with administration, WJ’s security team is looking to make new reforms that are designed to ensure the safety on school campus. The new focus this year emphasizes how students and faculty are able to make a difference in making WJ even safer.

“Being aware and being vigilant. Talking to classmates if you feel likes somethings off,” head of security Adam Hoffman said. “Most schools that have situations, it’s because people notice something, but failed to say anything.

The security team at WJ is more focused this year on protecting the outside of the school.

“We are very focused this year on securing the outside perimeter and checking in visitors that enter the building,” Hoffman said. “Not opening doors for anyone is a very important rule.”

MCPS is a proud enforcer of the Systemwide Safety Program, which involves required training of specific school employees to be prepared for an emergency. After many confusing and unclear drills last year, the security team and administration are working to have smoother emergency drills so students feel prepared for any chaotic situations.

“I really think we should make it more of a priority to make it as easy as possible for teachers to know where we are,” senior Rozhina Amini said.

With open lunch, MC classes and abbreviated schedules, students are constantly leaving and entering the building during the day. Students are encouraged to look out for themselves and all other students in the building. This year marks a stricter enforcement of simple rules that will help to regulate all those who come into the building.

“There are certain rules that are made to help everyone out. WJ is a very fun and relaxed school, and I like that students are treated as adults here and given a lot of freedoms. We just have to make sure this doesn’t compromise anyone’s safety,” Amini said.