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Safety concerns drive school policies, precautions

Because drug abuse, alcohol, violence and gang activity plague many schools across the nation, a student’s well-being and a campus’s security are at the heart of any safety program.

Since students spend about eight hours a day at school, administrators and other school officials take steps to ensure that they are kept safe while on campus.

After time spent in a public school district, Principal Todd Bennett sees Fresno Christian as a comparably safe environment for both students and faculty.

“I was in public schools for 20 years and an administrator there for 12 years,” Bennett said. “Compared to that [public schools], there’s not really a big deal here. I’m confident we have a very safe campus. The biggest thing here is making sure that visitors check in, that there are the right people around campus.”

Due to the size of public schools, problems there may occur on a broader scale. In an attempt to counteract this, many campuses have a police officer along with several student liaison officers, whose job is to monitor the campus and build relationships with the students.

Safety regulations on campus

While security issues are a rarity on the FC campus, there are safeguards put in place to make for a secure environment. According to Bennett, the school administration has a campus-wide security program that includes the Peoples Church staff.

Recently, a new action plan for threatening situations has been put into place campus-wide; the updated plan was used Feb. 14 during an after-school lockdown.

“We updated our plan last year; we carry information cards with safety codes, needed action and emergency contacts,” Bennett said. “Because the lockdown happened so late in the day, it was just a matter of getting in the golf cart and rounding everyone up. We feel pretty confident; I think knowing what to do definitely helps.”

Although few major adjustments have been made this year, administrators made an effort to improve safety by providing every senior with a locker instead of allowing students to use their cars for storage.

“In some cases, kids were making bad decisions and doing some dumb things out there [in the parking lot],” Bennett said. “If we can just take that opportunity away from them, that would probably be the biggest change we’ve made this year.”

Despite the precautions in place, there have been some instances of vandalism this year, according to the church’s facility manager, Willard Neufeld. Minutes after the dismissal bell rang several weeks ago, a loud noise alerted staff to investigate the source. They found a window shattered for reasons still unknown, he said.

“We had it [window] taped up for that night, and our glass people came and had it repaired with the new panel within 48 hours,” Neufeld said. “It was very unfortunate, an expense you obviously don’t want to have; but it’s definitely a safety issue and [is] very necessary.”

Maintaining campus facilities

Aside from encouraging students to make safe decisions, Neufeld focuses on keeping the facilities attractive to the eye and in good working order.

“Aesthetics are so important for me,” Neufeld said. “I want everything on the campus to be just right.”

Recently, a women’s group from Peoples Church raised funds to replace the carpets in Ground Zero. The concerns for carpet and stairs of Building 6 still stand, however, because the current condition is labeled as cautionary.

“I’ve fallen down the stairs many times,” Raine Hayes, ’12, said. “I’ve tripped for many reasons: high heels, too much stuff to carry, flip flops or just being clumsy. But the tears and cracks have definitely contributed.”

Recent projects, concerns

The dumpster outside of Building 6 has been a concern for both Neufeld and administration due to the garbage trucks’ arrival during morning drop-off, which can provide a serious safety risk for students.

“We keep in touch with the city for trash pick-up times; they know that we have a safety issue,” Neufeld said. “That’s one of the biggest safety concerns I’ll always have: cars around that area and also the time of pick up.”

In addition to the dumpster, Neufeld and administrators have refocused their attention on scooters, which have been banned on campus. Although the recent move disappointed some students, concern for the safety of everyone on campus drove the decision, Neufeld said.

For more information, check out Safety inspection.

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