School security needs updates to repair holes

It’s no secret that security at Grady is less than adequate. This is apparent not only through the incidents involving discharged firearms or lockdowns because of threatening personnel on campus, but also by the arbitrary security the school now has.

Security is mostly limited to teachers checking bags when students walk in through the metal detectors in the morning. But these checks are usually nothing more than a slight glance into the bag and more often a pat on the bottom of it.

I don’t, in any way, blame the teachers for this; there are usually several students walking through the doors at once and doing more extensive checks would result in extremely long lines and tardiness. But even so, we shouldn’t be substituting convenience for safety.

The driving force behind my cry for change is the past breaches of security. Metal detector checks are easy to avoid. If a student’s first class is in the trailers, they can avoid the checks all together by entering through the dirt lot. If they arrive past 8:30 a.m., they can enter through any door around the school to get to class and avoid being subjected to any sort of security measures. This happened in 2013 when a student came in through the gymnasium, circumventing the metal detectors, and she ended up accidentally shooting herself with a gun in her pocket. If the checks are only being applied to half or less than half of the student body, how much safer do they really make the school?

Grady is a very open campus. This has changed in recent times thanks to the addition of extra cameras and the hiring of resource officers, but it is still fairly simple for someone off the street to walk on campus without notice, as the entrances from the dirt lot into the trailers are unguarded. It is true that there are resource officers who walk around the campus, and, while they do add an invaluable layer of security to the school, they cannot be everywhere at once. Because Grady is in such a busy part of Midtown, there have to be extra precautions taken to ensure that the campus is as closed off to strangers as possible. Whether that means locking the trailer entrances during the day or hiring more police officers, I think that extra steps should be taken to ensure student and faculty safety.

Security at Grady should be at the forefront of discussion with the administration as well as Atlanta Public Schools. There have been too many instances in the past years that have threatened student security, and the measures that are in place to protect the students have too many loopholes to prove effective against a potential threat. Steps must be taken to improve the security, and they must be taken soon.