New security measures aim to confront dangers at the school

KWANG_Security

Senior Kelly Huynh was returning to her car after Back to School Night when she noticed something strange: a long scratch on the side of her car, stretching from the back door toward the tail light.

Her car had been keyed while she was gone, leaving her with the heavy cost of repainting and the risk of higher insurance prices if she reported the incident. Other students have also spotted instances of vandalism in the parking lot and have protested the apparent lack of action from the school. Senior Kellie Dubel reported driving past a car with one of its tires slashed. “I think there is a real vandalism problem that the school should address with improvements in security,” Junior Rohan Ramakrishnan said.

Another major problem students face is theft, especially in the school locker rooms. P.E. clothes, sports equipment and cellphones are commonly stolen, even from locked lockers.

“My and two of my friends’ phones were stolen,” Junior Lucy Rios said.

These incidents, while uncommon on campus, raise important concerns about campus safety.

The $419 million in Measure H funds may help address these concerns. $14 million has been propositioned to address security needs at the school. These funds, if approved, will be used to install fencing, security cameras and electronic locks for classroom doors.

Some students believe other facility improvements should be prioritized above security, and that the school should focus on academics or other campus improvements.

“I do not see a reason why we would need extra security, and I feel that the money should be put to better use by purchasing supplies for students and teachers, or by increasing the quality and the quantity of classes offered to students,” Junior Jurrien Le said.

However, contrary to popular belief, Measure H funds can be used only for facility and security improvement, as designated by law.

A school-wide survey conducted last spring also placed emphasis on other areas, such as improving the ITC, updating the swimming pool or implementing other facility improvements like exterior painting, ceiling repair and restroom updates, which are financed by regular funds.

The decision to devote funds to improving security seems to follow public opinion, appealing to the majority of students at the school and members of the general community.

According to a district-wide survey conducted by the San Jose Unified School District, a majority of the 3000 community members surveyed also felt that campus security should be a top priority, especially after the national series of school shootings.

“The primary need that arose across the district [in the survey] was the need to make schools more secure in light of recent school shootings,” Principal Deepa Mukherjee said.

Students also generally believe that the school faces a major safety issue that has not been addressed adequately. The new security measures, however, seem to be in accordance with the specific needs of students.

“I think there should be more security cameras in the parking lot,” Dubel said. “I know there have been a couple incidents with car vandalism, and I think more can be done to prevent future damage.”