Recent events in Uvalde, Texas, have me saying enough! We cannot continue as a school district to put off security and safety measures until a later date, then hand out Band Aids to hold what we have together until it can be fixed properly.
I have been campus security for the Sequim School District since September 2000. Four of our five campuses are separated by athletic fields and a street, I work mostly at the high school. The district office staff has grown from five, including the superintendent, to where it is now. Very little has been done to make our schools safer for students and staff during this time.
I was excited when the district recently received approval for the current school levy, Finally we were going to address the concerns for school safety. What remains of our cameras are on life support and must be replaced. Yet when I was asked to be on the district safety committee I received a copy listing the order of various projects that would be completed per the school board. The projects are listed in tiers. Tier One is the most important and Tier Four is the least. Security cameras and several safety items are in Tier Three! Meaning, it would be years before they are completed.
One of the items in Tier One caught my attention. It is an elevator and a remodel of a second floor room called “The Loft.” I’m not saying we don’t need an elevator, but there are several extremely urgent items that need to be higher priority. Cameras, fencing, security doors and crucial safety measures need to be at the forefront for our students.
Just this school year alone we have had several incidents of vandalism, fights and unauthorized people on our campuses. Most of the occurrences cold have been avoided if we had the proper safety measures installed and new cameras.
Instead, I have to tell the police, administrators and parents when they ask to see the video of an incident, “Sorry, we have cameras in the area but they don’t work anymore.”
With the exception of the current superintendent I have notified past superintendents and various board members for years about the state of our cameras.
Since the school district found a way to take an old high school building that should have been condemned and modeled it as they grew, then they and the school board need to find a way to solve this problem.
Dave Toman is Campus Security for the Sequim School District.