The Pacific Times | The Only Student-Run News Website in Natomas

New Policies Meant to Protect Against Shootings

By Krista Chouang
Co-Editor | The Pacific Times

Changes to NP3 policy have been put in place as protective measures in the event of school shootings.

NP3 administration changed the fire drill procedure to “hold in place.” Since death rates from school fires have been low in comparison to death rates from school shootings since 1958, students are now instructed to stay inside classrooms when the fire alarm goes off instead of immediately evacuating. Classrooms are only allowed to evacuate when administration announces to do so through the intercom.

The reason for this policy change is to avoid letting school shooters use the fire alarm as a tactic to get a large number of students in one place.

“I feel like in the past where we have had fire drills, it’s almost like it only happens in the quarter of the school because a microwave went off, and it’s not even a proper reason for us to go out,” said senior Jacqueline Paltzer. “Not only is that interruptive, but having this new policy is kind of productive, I know that I’m not in any immediate danger and it kind of makes me feel safer in some ways.”

Administration has also implemented a new locked door policy. According to a presentation by principal Melissa Mori, no active shooter has entered a locked door since the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. Teachers must now keep their doors locked on the outside at all times during class. Doors are only allowed to be propped open before school, after school, and during lunch and passing periods.

According to Mori, both policies emerged as a result of school leaders seeking updated safety and security policies from law enforcement.

“After every school shooting, officers and law enforcement kind of go through and revise their best practices to keep school safe, so it’s the most recent recommendation from law enforcement,” said Mori. “We spoke with our school resource officers in the Natomas district and asked them for updated policies regarding safety on campus and so it came at their suggestion, but it was not mandated by law.”

Some students have expressed feeling annoyed with having to be let in after using the restroom or getting up to open the door for another student.

“The costs and the funds for a proper security system, it’s not something that our school can easily afford,” said Paltzer. ”While I think it’s important to emphasize that the security of our students is of the utmost (importance), it is rather inconvenient. However I understand and I would much rather have to knock on the door than lose my life.”

“It’s not really a disruption because when somebody needs to return from using the restroom or something like that, some kid sitting closest to the door will usually do a pretty good job of getting it, so it’s not really a disruption, and it’s pretty much part of our everyday routine,” said teacher Kellen Thompson.

In August, school leaders announced the policy was optional for teachers, but quickly made it a requirement again. Nearly three months into the school year, the annoyance with locked doors has begun to fade as students and teachers get used to the policy, said Thompson.

“It doesn’t seem like it’s going away, everybody on campus seems to be pretty well used to it and it doesn’t appear that anyone really has a problem with it,” said Thompson. “Everybody seems to understand why we’ve got it, so I would be surprised if it went away.”

Speak Your Mind