This September, the administrators of Mt. Hebron High School presented new security measures to the student body with the goal of emphasizing school safety and preventing acts of violence on school grounds.
This announcement was made after the Howard County Public School System (HCPSS) was granted $861.9 million in funding for the school year, according to the HCPSS website. It was also made around the same time that an election forum was held by the candidates for the Howard County school board to discuss protection measures against school shootings on Sept. 20, 2018.
The changes in security measures were made as a response to the ongoing issue regarding violence on school property, with events such as the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting of Feb. 14, 2018 and the shootings at Rancho Tehama Elementary School on Nov. 14, 2017, causing the school system to fear for the safety of its students.
One of the new security changes made to the school is the addition of an announcement before an emergency drill to make it clear to students and staff that the drill is scheduled. This decision was made as a reaction to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, when an assailant activated the school fire alarm, allowing his targets to rush towards him so that he could gun them down.
Another example would be the enhanced surveillance system, according to Principal Dr. Joelle Miller, the school now has 70 cameras around the building to watch every movement made. Outside of the school bathrooms, cameras are lined up throughout the hallways to make sure that no suspicious activity occurs at Mt. Hebron.
However, while security has been updated, Dr. Miller has made it clear that it is up to the students to keep the peace and to be “accountable for their own safety,” she said. She cited how the school has around 1,640 students while there are only 203 staff members and four administrators.
Dr. Miller stated that if the students “see something, [they should] say something. Students should be accountable for their personal safety.”
She described how the school and the Howard County Police and Fire Departments are working together to make sure that no further incidents occur on school grounds, creating a collaboration that should hopefully prevent future disturbances.
When asked if future changes might be made, Dr. Miller said, “Always. We are always looking for ways to improve.”
She mentioned that ideas were being passed around regarding labeling the hallways in order to aid law enforcement in navigating through the school in case an emergency occurs.
Some students are a bit skeptical of the enhanced safety measures in the building.
“Honestly, I don’t know if this will be enough,” senior Hamzah Yousuf said. “Maybe the new schedule will help us stay safe and keep things organized.”
Dr. Miller and the school staff wish to make clear that they are doing their best to keep the students of Mt. Hebron safe from harm. If these safety measures are to be implemented, students must report any suspicious activity, respect the rules of the building, and remain alert at all times.
Categories: Hebron News