Security beefed up at schools

Clarkston High School will have upgraded safety precautions for the upcoming 2019-20 school year. Photo by Matt Mackinder

BY MATT MACKINDER
Clarkston News Staff Writer

With school district bond projects set to wrap up before the first day of school on Aug. 26, Clarkston High School will have notable changes this year.
According to CHS Principal Gary Kaul, one of the most important bond updates is the reconfiguration of the attendance office, and the addition of the secure entryway at the school.
Once school starts, students, families, and guests will be able to enter the school during school hours (7:25 a.m. – 2:20 p.m.) through the main door as usual but will now need to be buzzed in by front office staff, much like at other district buildings.
“Our office will be set up to provide increased verbal and visual recognition for guests needing to enter the high school,” Kaul said in an Aug. 15 email to the Clarkston community. “Upon entry, guests will proceed directly to the attendance office and will be greeted by a staff member. Visitors with appointments will be allowed into the school building only after being cleared by our staff.
“Things will feel slightly different for our students as well. As we work to funnel daily traffic through one secure entry, there will be a need to alter past practices and develop new protocols.”
For instance, Kaul said, students requesting to get personal materials from their vehicles may only do so if the material serves “an immediate academic purpose,” such as a book, assignment, or project. After getting the item, the student must show the item to school staff. If it is not located, the student may be marked absent from class.
“We hope this will serve as a deterrent for students who wish to visit their vehicles to obtain personal items that they do not necessarily need to get through their school day, such as ear buds, cell phones, etcetera,” said Kaul.
For the safety of all stakeholders, Kaul said the school will be establishing clear expectations for students to strictly utilize the main entrance/exit during the day.
“Should students not adhere to our protocols, interventions will be necessary and may ultimately result in disciplinary consequences or reduced privileges at CHS,” Kaul said. “Due to the sheer volume of traffic we experience on a daily basis at CHS, our transition to a single safe and secure entry is much more complex than that of any other building in the district. Our students are exiting and entering the building during all hours of the school day to pursue the abundance of unique educational opportunities we offer. We ask for continued cooperation from students, staff, families, and visitors to the high school.
“Students cannot learn unless they feel safe. By all metrics, Clarkston High School is an extremely safe environment, made more so by the generous support of our community. We thank you for providing us the opportunity to allow our students to focus on their learning and for your continued support.”