Shawnee’s Security Update


Sean Etter, Staff Editor


If you’re like me, then on the first day of school (or preseason, if you are participating in a fall sport) you were surprised to walk by the school’s main office and notice that some very obvious changes had been made. I am referring to the three strange, stone flowerpot-looking things that are now in front of the school’s main entrance, and the new vestibule that was added to the main office. So now the question is: what’s up with all of these changes?

Over the summer, students and parents were emailed by the school, notifying them that renovations were being made to the main office, meaning that the entrance would be inaccessible over the break. These renovations were a part of the school’s initiative to improve security. According to Shawnee High School’s Principal Matthew Campbell, whom I interviewed about the subject of our school’s new security, the United States Department of Homeland Security “has labeled schools as soft targets” for attacks, such as school shootings or terrorist attacks. Because of this risk to students and staff, “the Department of Education has made several recommendations…to enhance the security of all schools.” These recommendations include protective barriers and secure interior vestibules. 

So out of these security recommendations, which ones were added to Shawnee? First, we have the large stone planters that are in front of the main office entrance. These planters are a protective barrier “designed to protect the main entrance to the building” so that nothing can be used to smash into the main entrance doors. The next big security addition to the school is the new main entrance vestibule. Before the summer, one could simply walk through the front doors and have the entire school open to them. Now, the main entrance opens into a small vestibule that separates the main entrance from the rest of the school. “When visitors arrive they will be buzzed into the vestibule and then will have to be buzzed in and escorted to the area of the building that they are visiting…it allows us to control access to the building via the main office. In the past once a person was buzzed in, they were in the building. With the new set up visitors are held in the vestibule until we can have them escorted.”

Another change that students may not have noticed is renovations that have been made to the main office itself. “Teacher mailboxes were relocated to the work room in order to make room for the an entrance to the main office from the main hallway.” Mrs. Getz, Shawnee’s attendance clerk, has also been relocated across the hall from the main office.

When asked whether or not he believes these new security measures have really made the school safer than it was before, Principal Campbell relied with much confidence, “Yes, I do. The changes make the building building safer for the entire school community.” With the new security in place and the new school year coming into full swing, I’d like to wish the entire Shawnee community, as well as the extended Lenape Regional High School District, a safe and happy school year!