New security has students wondering what is best

Brianne Johnson, Layout Editor

You can often find them monitoring the halls. Checking hall passes and bathrooms making sure students are where they are supposed to be. The security team consists of four security guards. These guards work for Per Mar security services; the school hires these officers to follow a daily schedule put together by Assistant Principal Shelly Phernetton.

“I put together a different schedule everyday for our officers to follow, every wing has a different schedule,” Phernetton said.

The security team follows Phernetton’s schedule to ensure students are safe every minute of every school day.

“Their schedule consists of checking bathrooms and exterior doors. They turn on and off alarms, lock and unlock doors, make sure that the students and the staff have the right parking permits. Also just being assistance to busing and traffic patterns and student safety,” Phernetton said.

The district has a certain amount of money for each school. The security officers are getting paid with that money.

“The district has money that is for safety and security for all schools. We use some of that money to pay them,” Phernetton said.

Adding more security will not hurt, but the school might not have that option. The city of Oak Park Heights may not have anymore officers that they can give to schools.  Some students believe we need more security. The one police officer and four security officers are not enough for some students.

“I think it’s pretty good coverage for now it’s nice to have the fourth officer here this year it really does help,” Oak Park Heights Police Officer Lindsey Paradise said.

Most of the time its better to have the security officers here in place of another officer we have more day to day work for them and they help us so much.”

— Lindsey Paradise

One police officer has the skills of three security officers. Some students and community members feel it would be safer to have another police officer similar to Officer Paradise in the school to replace some of the security officers.

“They’re two completely different jobs and functions. We work with the city in order to make sure that officer Paradise, is able to do work here. I don’t believe Oak Park Heights has another officer to give us so we should all feel very fortunate to have her at our school. We’re extremely lucky to have a police officer at our school,” Phernetton said.

Sometimes there is so much work that it would be nice to have another officer. The school is so big and there are many students and staff, having two officers could really benefit the security of the school.

“Some days it would be nice to have another one of me I just get so busy. Most of the time its better to have the security officers here in place of another officer we have more day to day work for them and they help us so much,” Paradise said.

There is a huge difference between the security officers and a police officer such as Paradise. Security officers offer more eyes in the halls, help with alarms, doors and student issues. Paradise deals with legal actions and has arrest power.

“They assist with students, the exterior gates and the parking lot they help with everything that we need to do. It’s nice to have extra help. The difference between us is that I’m a licensed police officer, I deal with legal action and carrying a firearm, I also have arrest powers, just things that deal with legal action mostly,” Paradise said.

SAHS came in as the 21st safest school in the metro area last year. They differ from other schools when it comes to safety, they take security as the number one priority. The school has so many drills and practices, that is what makes them stand out from the rest.

“I talk with other officers and we compare and contrast our schools. We have a lot of cameras, a lot of schools don’t have that. Also the alarm on door 49W. Others don’t have that. So is our security perfect no never perfect, but compared to other schools we have a pretty good system in place, but our school can always improve,” Paradise said.

The school can improve its security by having the students and staff all on the same page with the same plans. They can continue to improve the parking lot security and make sure all of the doors are secure. If the there is a suspicious activity going on say something, it is the only way that can make the school safer.