EHS administration works to secure student safety

In light of recent events, Edina discusses prohibitive measures in order to ensure school safety

Emma Bailey, page editor

The recent shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has been a topic of thought, discussion, and action for many US citizens, Edina High School students and staff included. On both national and local levels, citizens have been continually raising concerns about our collective safety as a nation. Within the student body of EHS, questions about school security loom large.    

With a reconstructed high school comes a need for a revised security plan. The district has been working with a consultant all year to formulate a lockdown plan that best fits the new layout of EHS. Additionally, there are two armed police on staff at EHS who have been working with their entire Edina Police and Fire Department to ensure that students in the high school, along with all other schools in the district, are being protected.

Edina has taken many security precautions since the start of the year. Administration is now requiring all teachers to keep their door handles locked to increase the safety of the school as well as decrease the number of tardies for students. There is also a new system in place that notifies the office when an entrance into the school has been held open for over a minute, limiting potential entrance through propped doors.

However, the shooting in Florida sparked a reasonable outcry from students. Students who don’t feel safe want to know what measures are in place to ensure their protection. Many have concerns about the safety issues posed by the glass doors and open learning spaces that define the newly renovated spaces. “It’s important for the community to know, as much as [the Florida shooting] is really scary, that first, Edina High School is not, nor is any high school, built to be a military institution or a prison; we’re built to be a school. So, we’re not gonna be ‘brickin’ up’ this place. We are built to have our students be engaged and excited about learning, that’s first and foremost,” EHS Principal Andy Beaton said.

The district has created a new “lockdown with options” plan for a situation of crisis. In a crisis scenario, students will be put under lockdown, but if they are able to locate the area of the threat and reasonably decide that they can safely navigate to a safer area, they should evacuate to that area. The idea centers around the fact that the threat would be mobile as well, and students and staff will be able to make their own judgment calls with their lives. “If you have an opportunity to get yourself in a safe position, then you do it,” Beaton said.

Students may be experiencing new, enhanced lockdown drills during lunch or passing time, with different procedures for different locations. For example, students at lunch would likely evacuate, as that is the most practical measure to get hundreds of students out of an unsafe area. Beaton mentioned the importance of notifying students of drills beforehand, to minimize panic. “We would announce that at some point during the day that there will be a lockdown drill, and we expect you to respond and follow procedure,” Beaton said.

Furthermore, there is a conversation around the idea of having students wear their IDs on them every day similar to staff to ensure that all persons in the building are permitted to be there. Beaton and groups such as the Student Senate and Student Council have been discussing the system and its potential implications. “Any safety measure creates some level of inconvenience,” Beaton said. It is ultimately up to the EHS student body whether they are willing to wear IDs to offer protection for themselves and their classmates. “Everybody gets really elevated when something like this happens, in Florida, but are they willing to do those things to try to make the school safer?” Beaton asked.

Overall, there is a widespread call for action at EHS. Beaton stressed that many public places are susceptible to shootings, but the precautionary measures and protocols in place at EHS ultimately make it a safe environment. Nonetheless, the district has been working to update and increase safety while still allowing schools to carry out their primary function as learning spaces.