School security and its growing ubiquity

It’s another brisk morning during the school week for students. Kids walk onto the premises and inside the school, hands brushed together to keep warm, their breath hanging in the air.

As they walk into the school, people in gray polo shirts with a small logo on the top right act very welcoming and enthusiastic. They make sure the kids are ready to go with their day and to keep a positive attitude. As the kids adjust from the brisk cold to the comforting heat, the security guards are ready to be their push into the day.

Hinsdale Central is one of the many schools ramping up on security to help make their students feel safer in their learning environment. According to CBS News, there were 385 mass shootings in the United States in 2019 as of December 1st. Schools have been no exception to these devastating attacks, and security officers have been implemented to try and prevent those.

“I love the upgrades (that the school has made). It makes me personally feel like I’m in a safer place and that there is a much slimmer chance of something bad happening,” said Noah Epstein, junior.

One of the main upgrades the school has to offer would be the new security office in their math hallway. The office itself is small, but acts like a control center, offering featuring multiple officers in its gray enclosure. The prominent feature of the office is a large monitor that feature cameras which show all around the school. This gives the officers a comprehensive look around the school to get a good view from anywhere, including places that it never had been before.

“It’s kind of been a comprehensive approach,” said Kevin Simpson, a retired Hinsdale police chief. “We went from about 90-something cameras to about 159 to have a more comprehensive look around the school, not just in the interior but in the exterior as well.”

Another part of the upgrades have been more advanced security throughout the school. They went from student supervisors to a more formal approach. One of the main intentions of this was to have officers be better equipped to handle more emergency situations technologically than student safety supervisors.

“The component of all of this technology and radios are great, but if you don’t have the right people and skillset to handle that technology then it’s really no good,” Chief Simpson said.

Another main component was using the experience of the officers to the best of their advantage. Some of the roles of student safety supervisors underplayed the full potential of their skillsets, whereas now they’re being incorporated to student safety better.

“(Security guards) have to be very vigilant when looking at visitors, making sure people have passes, making sure students have passes, and all of that focuses to make sure that someone who isn’t supposed to be here isn’t here,” Chief Simpson said.

The underlying importance of security guards is intended to be to make schools safer. 

“While nothing is foolproof, you’re right, this is the world we live in now and tapping into the resources available to us will make us much safer and better prepared should something happen,” Chief Simpson said.