A graffito protest by the pool
Monday has since been removed
Despite griping from students and staff, the first week of new security measures at James Logan went relatively well, according to Principal Don Montoya.
"Frankly, it all worked quite well," Montoya said in an email update on the changes Saturday. Even so, "we will continue to refine the procedures until we get it all where it needs to be."
As part of that fine-tuning, he said that interior gates in the school would be unlocked earlier, and that students late to school will be directed to enter campus only through front gate near the attendance windows, so tardy students can be processed more efficiently.
When they returned from spring break last week, students were greeted by newscasters, Campus Security Technicians, police officers, and administrators all gathered around the only four open gates of Logan, checking in students who displayed school identification cards, and directing those who lacked the cards to a room where they could get them.
The new security measures are a result of to the security reviews that have occurred during the past year. During that time, the violence in Union City has escalated, including the tragic murder of James Logan freshman, Vernon Eddins.
The most obvious change is the requirement of school identification cards for entrance into the campus. According to the district, this will help administrators keep track of students on campus, keeping those who should be in school inside, and those who shouldn’t be there, out. With the new rules, students must show proof of Logan attendance by flashing their ID card as they walk into the school.
The new security measures implemented at Logan have not been so warmly received
by the students. In what may have been retaliation to the new parking measures, someone painted over the yellow stripes designating teacher parking spaces with white striping that usually indicates student parking.
On Monday, many students dressed in striped clothing to signify that they were inmates trapped in the Logan penitentiary. Some wore tape on their backpacks or clothing, proclaiming “LOGAN=PRISON” and posters bearing the same slogan were placed around the campus.
“They’re turning Logan into a Jailhouse” said junior Josiah Barkow, “This is a school, not a prison”
“This is totally inappropriate,” said a teacher who asked to be anonymous. “They sent all the CST’s out side to protect the school. But they still haven’t realized that the threat isn’t out there, it’s in here. Who will protect the students from each other?"
Others didn't mind so much.
“Since I’m a senior, I really don’t care” says Fatima Ansary 12. “We only have to deal with this for two more months.”
“So far, the new safety measures have been pretty painless for me. I actually haven’t received many student complaints, although the main thing I am concerned about is fire alarms. I guess we will be able to work out the kinks as we get deeper in the process,” said Logan Science teacher, Abigail Noche.
Montoya is satisfied with the cooperation of students.
“[Monday] went well overall… and our students were complimented by ESC staff regarding how respectful, polite, and cooperative they were during this transition to the new security system,” he said.
Others thought the measures were ineffective.
“They don’t even check your face; I could just switch my ID card with some random dude and still get on campus,” said Matthew Topete, 12.
The image of the school as prison-like was unintentionally enhanced by the new fencing around the construction area of the new performing arts center, next to the Pavilion and stadium. According to Montoya's email, some students thought that the cyclone fencing was part of the new security measures.
"The additional fencing at the pavilion/stadium parking lots is there ONLY because of the new Performing Arts Center construction," Montoy wrote. "It was just coincidental that the installation of the fencing and beginning of construction began at about the same time as we implemented the new procedures."
The Performing Arts Center project is slated to take two years to complete.
Another major change involves the opening of only a few of the once 32 available entrances on campus. There are only four gates of entry in the morning and only one gate remains open during the day while classes are in session.
In addition, stricter policies have also been implemented in the Logan parking lot, which is
also in relation to the closed teacher parking due to construction.
If non-teacher cars are found in the yellow-lined teacher parking areas, the cars will be subject to towing. The new restrictions are causing of congestion in the parking lot and extra time spent for students trying to find available spaces.
"Finding parking is retardo! I had to circle the parking lot twice to find a space; I’d rather
spend that time in class learning!” said Jessica Yano, 12.
These new security changes are only the beginning of more to come, however. In the coming future, the district is already planning to install surveillance cameras at various locations at Logan at the start of the new school year.