Many security protocols have recently been implemented in school this year, such as ID badges for students, a program keeping an eye on computer searches, and other, more subtle changes throughout the school.
Staff members handed out ID badges at registration, complete with lanyards. The entire student body is supposed to wear the IDs while at school, and the faculty and staff either have IDs or special shirts designating them as staff.
“Ten years ago we tried the IDs as more of a punitive measure, and anyone who didn’t wear them got detention. We’re not doing that this time,” said associate principal Megan Licht. “It’s just a way for us to make sure that whoever’s in the building is supposed to be there.”
The ID badges have been tried before. Now they serve a similar purpose without getting students in trouble if anyone forgets the ID.
“This is just another layer for us to figure out who belongs here and who doesn’t,” said Principal Dr. James Roscoe. “It’s much easier during the day when everyone has to go past security to get into the building, but it’s more difficult at seven thirty when all the buses are arriving.”
These ID badges are not the only change in security at North. The technology department added a new program to the Chromebooks called “Gaggle.”
“Gaggle is a third-party extension of Google,” Licht said. “It looks at anything from Google Hangouts, Google Drive, email, anything Google-related under that umbrella. For example, let’s say you’re typing away in your Drive and you use profanity. Gaggle flags it as inappropriate, and I get sent a report.”
Although the company monitoring all students accounts might panic some, Licht and Roscoe assure them that Gaggle is only for making the school, and students, safer.
“It’s really a safety measure,” Licht said. “If a student is being bullied and is talking about it, if they’re thinking of committing suicide and are talking about that, if they are doing something illegal that they’re not supposed to, Gaggle will send Dr. Roscoe and me a message so that we can talk to the student about it.”
There are also less noticeable changes in the security protocols. Any teacher can now set the school into lockdown in case of emergency across the school, drills are becoming less announced, and there is a new camera system that allows the police to tie in during a lockdown.