Administration takes action
October 17, 2018
This year OHS has taken new actions to ensure better security for its students. When discussing safety at OHS, Mr. Randall said, “It’s really important that students understand why we have some of our rules like no hats and backpacks.” There is some difficulties getting the reasoning for the rules across to the students.
Most students at OHS know of the no backpack rule, but many do not know the reasoning for the regulation. The obvious reason is that it can be very easy to hide large weapons, which was a concern after OHS previously received threats on the bathroom walls in 2016. The other reason is for identification purposes. If there was a suspect in the school and the police were looking for them, a student with a backpack and a hood could stick out.
Another rule that been had taken into effect is the “Indian Doors” on School St. remain locked throughout the day. During the school the day, everyone has to enter through the main doors which are monitored by security 24/7. This change was suggested by the Owatonna Police Department to give security more control over who is coming in and out of the school.
Last year, classrooms continued using delegated sign out sheets that must be filled out, and a hall pass that must be taken if a student leaves the room for any reason.
This is to assist teachers with knowing where their students are at all times. OHS has added extra security measures on visitors entering the school. All visitors must scan a form of identification that goes through a database and informs the school if their background is clean for them to be in the school environment. They will then be issued a name badge that they must wear in the building.
When asked about suspicious activity such as wondering the halls, meeting kids in the bathroom or having a hood and backpack, administration explained that OHS has 70 to 80 cameras for surveillance, an increase from last year. They also always have two people on foot making sure nothing looks out of the ordinary and one person looking over security footage at all times.
Officers on foot keep their eyes out for bags left around, as well as propped open doors, something that has been an issue over the years.
OHS Liaison Officer Brady Vaith said, “We have done a pretty good job keeping doors locked, shutting propped opened doors and keeping bags and hats off students, which were our biggest concerns.” Overall, OHS has taken many steps to ensure the safety of their students and will continue to work with local law enforcement to create a positive environment.