New school, new safety


Photo by Hillary Currier.

A parent walks through the new office. The new security vestibule creates one way in for those who want to access the school.

By Caroline Frisiras, Staff Writer

Story originally published in the November 2019 edition of The Paw, our quarterly magazine

  Tigard High School is taking precautions to ensure the safety of their students. With the remodel, the recently constructed main entrance to the school has adopted a new way to control who is coming in and out of the school through a brand new safety vestibule.

     Visitors and students must go through the vestibule after 8:05 a.m. in order to enter the main quad of the school. Visitors or tardy students need to be buzzed in by secretaries Shari Balcom or Katie Sanders.

      “The idea behind that vestibule is that […] we’ll be able to secure all of the doors, and everyone who comes through the school will need to come in through that main spot,” Associate Principal Angelita Miller said. She also explains that the vestibule is something that all schools should have, in order to better secure their perimeters.

     While it may be taxing to buzz students and visitors in and out of the office, head receptionist Shari Balcom agrees that it is a necessary feature.

     “If my kids went here, I would want it to be as secure as possible,” Balcom said, adding that the most important thing is students feeling safe and comfortable during the day.

     Junior Ashlyn Miller (no relation to Angelita Miller) appreciates the security features of the new building, but feels that Tigard’s current campus is not as secure as it could be.

     “I think that Tigard is doing a good job keeping students safe for the circumstances we are under with the construction,” Miller said. She explained that while the entrance in the front of the building is secure, Tigard could increase their monitoring of other entries more popularly used by students and staff, such as the lower science hall doors or the area near the library.

     Safety comes in many forms, and Tigard has been focusing on both tangible and intangible safety for their students. Aside from structural features, Tigard has emphasized tools like SafeOregon, which is a program available for all students if they hear or see something concerning the wellbeing of their peers.

     Angelita Miller thinks that the issue of school safety goes beyond just physical measures.

     “It’s a matter of training our community,” she explained. “I personally think the biggest safety precaution we can implement is kids and adults in our building letting someone know if they see something [concerning].”

     “I know the administrators work a lot on checking things out and just really being out there,” Balcom said, expressing that she feels Tigard staff makes a conscious effort to investigate any suspicious activity that could potentially affect Tigard’s student body.

     Senior Kavi Shrestha believes that in order for schools to be truly safe, changes need to happen on a bigger level.

     “Tigard could have more security measures, but at some point you just can’t do anymore,” Shrestha stated. He says that although he doesn’t constantly worry about a school shooting, he recognizes it is a very real possibility.

     Despite Tigard’s best efforts to make students feel safe, Shrestha feels that eventually there needs to be “[…] pressure on those who have the ability to deal with the problems at its root cause.”

     With safety concerns growing nationwide, it is both appreciated and appropriate for Tigard to continue to make strides towards a sense of safety and security among the student body.