Students return to find heightened campus security

Who’s campus security, why can’t you leave during lunch, and what consequences could students face?

Students return to find heightened campus security

Many students look forward to leaving campus for lunch, but for students of LHS, this isn’t an option, especially this school year. Unbeknownst to many, the school campus has always been closed, but only recently have measures been taken so that students are less motivated to leave.

One thing that LHS students may have noticed is the hiring of security guard Eduardo Chavez Solis, who most students call Eduardo. He’s often seen roaming the halls or perusing around the school in a Gator during lunch to monitor students.

Both Eduardo, along with Vice Principal Teresa Sanchez, spoke with the school paper to give some reasoning for the stricter security and potential consequences students may face if they leave campus unauthorized.

Sanchez takes responsibility for the increased security measures.

“I think it was mainly my decision that we should be enforcing [the closed campus policy] because I want you guys to be safe,” she said. “That’s really all there is to it.”

Eduardo explained that while there was campus security last year, very little was done to discipline students.

“This year you guys are probably feeling it a little more because I’m actually doing my job,” he said. “I’m always proactive, I’m always out making my rounds.”

As many students already know, there are consequences for disobeying the closed campus rule.

At first, students are let off with a warning, but as students settle into the school year and understand the new campus regulations, the severity of the possible consequences could escalate.

“We would start giving them strikes,” said Eduardo. “So we’re taking down every time a student gets caught either ditching or leaving for lunch.”

This helps the school to keep a firm record of who has gotten caught. After multiple violations, the disciplinary administration will likely institute a stricter punishment, such as getting a parking pass revoked or receiving lunch detention. Eduardo also shared that consequences will be different for students, depending on how they receive him. For example, he will be less lenient on punishments if students try to run away from him.

“It’s those students who I would be a little bit harsher on,” he said, adding that the goal is for students to be “own up  and be accountable for their actions.”

So, if you do get caught attempting to leave campus, it might be beneficial to admit your wrongdoing, rather than trying to run away from the inevitable consequences of breaking the rules. If students attempt to ditch school with their friends, everyone in the car could face both safety risks and potential punishment.

“You’re not only putting yourself in danger, but you’re also putting them in danger, and you’re not going to be the only one to […] get consequences, just because you’re the driver. Anybody else tagging along that’s with them […] they’re also going to receive the same disciplinary actions.”

Despite these potential consequences, the Lakeridge admin is not looking to punish students. Vice Principal Sanchez responds with a different perspective when students leave campus for lunch.

“We’re trying to do restorative practices, and when you’re doing that kind of discipline, we try to come up […] with the most meaningful consequences.”

By “meaningful consequences,” she means that the repercussions will be determined on a case-to-case basis.

“We are going to look at good reasons and just listen to your perspective,” Sanchez says.

Eduardo echoed this as well, saying that exceptions can be made under specific circumstances, like family medical emergencies.

One thing that would help is if students remembered to check out with the office. If students have a good reason for leaving campus, please get authorization from Principal Fisher, one of the vice principals, or another admin. From the information given by Eduardo and Vice Principal Sanchez, it can be inferred that students can leave if they have a free period, late arrival, or early dismissal. However, this was not made abundantly clear so students should talk to an administrator to confirm.

Many students may be asking themselves the reasoning behind the strict enforcement of the closed campus rule this school year.

“It is for your guys’ safety,” Eduardo said. “Although some students might think that they’re the best drivers in the world. In the world, there aren’t always good drivers. We want to make sure you guys make it through high school and you guys make it to where you guys want to go in life. It’s our job to take care of you guys while you guys are here, and I know I’m trying my best.”

While many students will still be opposed to this idea, it seems the staff just has the goal of keeping the LHS community safe.