ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Addition to Security

Antioch Community High School’s current security system was put into place in the fall of 2018 when District 117 signed a contract with Howe Security. In doing so, the company supplied a new team of security guards at the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year that are trained to protect and serve the students and staff of ACHS; however, some students don’t feel that is being done. 

“[The security guards need to] stop trying to be friends with the students and focus more on keeping us safe,” junior Skye Jackson said. “I hear students complaining about them a lot.”

According to Dean of Students Patricia McGuigan, the security guards around the school are encouraged to establish relationships with students, which allows for a sense of trust to build between them and the faculty. Although some may see these connections as beneficial for the school atmosphere, others believe that it may hinder their performance. For example, a physical altercation could potentially occur between two students while a security guard was not focusing their attention on supervising. According to a source, who wishes to remain anonymous for employment reasons, situational awareness is not the only problem the security guards have. 

“We have a lot of vandalism,” the anonymous source said. “I’ve noticed there’s a lot of times where bathrooms aren’t being checked or there’s a lot of kids in the commons that are supposed to be in classes that aren’t getting noticed.”

Bathrooms around the school have been vandalized and, with the bathrooms remaining unchecked, students have the potential to vape in them.

“[Our biggest issue is] vaping in the washrooms,” Dean of Students Patricia McGuigan said. 

At a recent Board of Education meeting, the board approved hiring a school resource officer the next school year for each school within District 117. An SRO is an armed, uniformed officer designated that defends a school. Their main purpose is to ensure safety and prevent criminal activities from occurring on school grounds. 

“I think [an SRO] would bring more seriousness to the students,” front desk monitor Whitney Carter said. 

Since a hired school resource officer is allowed to do home visits, make arrests and carry a weapon, students would be compelled to take security more seriously if one was hired. 

“If we have [an SRO] here, they can come in right away and deal with any of the issues,” McGuigan said. “It’s more of a resource for [the administration] and helpful for us.”

Hiring a school resource officer would not only allow more security in the school, but also could potentially decrease the amount of crime and truancy found in the school while increasing safety within District 117.