New SHS safety protocols: imposition or proficient?

SHS Security Guard Matt Bistritz hard at work.


SHS Security Guard Matt Bistritz hard at work.

Angeli Thompson, Editor-in-Chief

Due to the rise of recent school shootings, Solon High School (SHS) altered their safety rules around the building to create a safer environment for students and staff.

According to SHS Principal Erin Short, every time there is a major school shooting, she and her team come together with the director of security to look over what happened in those situations. They assess their plan to see what they could learn from that tragedy to alter the security plan in hopes of preventing a school shooting from happening at SHS.

“So one of the things that came up when meeting with the director of security is that when we allow students to come into all three entrances, many high school aged students — or anyone that could pass as a high school aged student — could enter the building,” Short said. “So it’s about buying seconds. And that’s horrible to think of, but it’s about buying as much time as we can from when people enter the building [so] they don’t have direct access to targets.”

The main entrances of the high school are the pool lobby, senior commons and the front of the building. Short explained how the reason students have to enter the building using the pool lobby entrance after 8 a.m. is because it is the farthest away from any students.

If students had access to enter the building through the commons entrance, the seniors are sitting right there. If students were to enter through the front, the secretary and people working in the office are in close proximity as well. So having to enter through the pool lobby gives students a little bit more time if a threat has entered the building.

“So that’s why we said anytime after eight o’clock the only access point for students is [the pool lobby] so we can streamline it,” Short said. “They have the double sign in, we have two security people back there, so we shifted our staffing so it doesn’t provide somebody easy targets in a close range.”

But when talking about the effectiveness of the new policy, SHS Security Guard Matt Bistritz expresses how he feels it creates an unnecessary extra effort for students.

“Sometimes it’s more difficult having to drop students off at the pool lobby,” Bistritz said. “If we could somehow check them in [at the pool lobby], without them having to go to [the office], that would make more sense to me. If we could make it kind of a one-stop deal, then I think that would be better.”

SHS Senior Gurkiran Natt goes on to explain the imposition she faced during the first day of school when it came to entering the building. Natt expressed how because she has Exel Tecc in the morning, she was not properly informed on the new rule.

“I came in through every other door but the pool lobby, so nobody would open the door for me,” Natt said. “I didn’t know I had to go through the pool lobby because they never sent out an email, or if they did, I never got it. So I feel like they should do a better job of informing students, because I know so many other students who came from Exel Tecc in the morning were also super confused.”

Short is aware of the imposition students face having to only enter through the pool lobby, but feels keeping the students safe is the most important factor.

“I understand that the change has been a pain in the neck for our students,” Short said. “But if doing something that is a little bit of a pain for our students keeps them alive, [then] we’re going to choose protecting them and keeping them safe over everything else.”