Security Upped At ACHS

With new problems coming to light, District 117 has taken extra steps toward safety.


In efforts to adapt to current events, both Antioch and Lakes Community High Schools have added new security to their schools. Community High School District 117 signed a new deal with the Howe Security company. The security team, lead by location manager Mel Steiner, is a constantly growing group of people helping to keep the halls of ACHS safe.

“I monitor hallways, retrieve kids from classrooms who are leaving, escort kids from classes,” one of the new security guards who goes by Trent said. “Normal things like locking doors and maintaining safety.”

Howe Security is a company from Lake Bluff, Ill., with a primary focus on protecting commercial and financial businesses. A 2010 chart on the company website shows that five percent of businesses helped are educational facilities. This educational section is the lowest percentage listed, below businesses like housewatching and mobile patrol. Howe Security features testimonials on their company website, mentioning well done jobs and good protection. They also promote a set of certifications and qualifying features of the business.

“Thanks, as always, for your professional work and our long-time relationship,” the website said. “Lake Forest and Lake Bluff Chamber of Commerce approval.”

Deans Pat McGuigan and Grant Murray were the main help to the security team, guiding the guards and helping them find their way around the school. Murray wants the security guards to continue exploring the school during the day to get a better sense of the school environment.

“We asked them to spend some time getting to know the building and walking around the building and acclimating,” Murray said. “But you know, just like it is sometimes with a new teacher, you go through training and you roll them out on the first day.”

Additionally, the security team is a help in enforcing the dress code and school rules. They have already done so during lunch and passing periods. Murray expects the new security staff to look out for suspicious behaviour and possible hazards.

“If they see something that doesn’t seem right, we want them to say something; we want them to air on the side of caution,” Murray said. “If that means telling someone to take their hood down, I’m perfectly fine with that.”

District 117 is not the only school district in the area to work with Howe Security. Lake Forest and Warren also have contracts with the company. Sophomore transfer student Christian Aszman also experienced high amounts of security patrolling his old school.

“They had a security guard pretty much at every intersection at the hallway and each hallway,” Aszman said. “The school was a lot bigger, but there were tons of security guards.”

ACHS is falling in line with other schools in the United States by employing an updated security team. A high school in Hackett, Ark., is also going through a transition of security with a representative saying it is a top priority. Both Antioch and Hackett’s representatives echo the importance of school safety and want students to thrive. They want to keep the students who attend school each day safe and make sure that each individual has an opportunity to succeed.

“I think the more comfortable we are at school, the more likely we are to succeed,” Murray said. “And that’s what we want to try to do.”