As of March 2014, there have been seven school shootings in the United States this year. With such a shocking number of school shootings in three months, perhaps it is not surprising that the recent security presentation at school meeting left more people concerned than reassured about safety on campus. In light of this student response, it seems appropriate to The Scroll Board that Deerfield re- examine the safety of its campus.
To start off, the Board would like to recognize the hard work and diligence of our campus security, who, through their work behind the scenes, make our school days and events safe and enjoyable. During the day, Security continuously checks dorms and buildings to make sure that there are Deerfield staff and faculty around. During the night, they make sure that all buildings are locked before 12 a.m. while supporting faculty chaperones at dances. On Wednesdays and Saturdays during sports games, they direct traffic for parking. Most importantly, they tirelessly patrol campus to ensure that there is nothing out of place.
However, it has come to many students’ attention that in contrast to many other private schools and colleges that require visitors and guests to check in before they enter the campus, Deerfield lacks any kind of a security checkpoint. The Scroll board believes it is important for Deerfield’s campus to remain a welcoming space, but how can students be expected to differentiate between visitors and unwelcome individuals given the completely open nature of our school? Even in the case of a legitimate security concern, communicating with Deerfield Security can be more difficult than expected. Almost every student has experienced calls to Security not going through until the fourth or fifth time. Due to poor reception and the lines being clogged up by students locked out of rooms or classrooms, there is concern about how quickly a legitimate concern can reach Deerfield’s Security headquarters.
Another point of concern is that Deerfield dorms and academic buildings do not require passwords or student ID-cards to be opened, allowing anyone to roam in. Furthermore, most students leave their doors unlocked during the day.
While Deerfield continues to believe in its values of trust and community, students and faculty need to feel protected on campus. Moving forward, we must question whether our trust in each other can be extended to outsiders—or whether our naïveté might be leaving us open for disaster.