By Megan Schalk
Following the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida, the conversation for school safety and the safety of our countries students has not wavered. The discussion has not solely been about gun control, however, but how well our schools can protect its students.
President Ali Malekzadeh spoke briefly on this subject during his State of the University address at the Schaumburg campus. Malekzadeh said following the aftermath of Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Roosevelt has assessed the school’s readiness to react to a threat.
“We are doing well in providing a safe environment for the students, faculty, and staff in our campuses… we continue to monitor the safety of our buildings,” said Malekzadeh.
The president assured that our campuses are well taken care of by our campus security.
“We continue to train the security officers and make sure that we hire experienced staff” said Malekzadeh.
Mark Pizana, the assistant director of campus security, said the Chicago campus is well secured by “controlling access to the buildings, monitoring movement in the buildings and maintaining alarms for emergencies.”
The Chicago campus also makes use of turnstiles, a badging system, cameras, as well as panic buttons around the campus to aid in security.
As for the Schaumburg campus, Campus Security Officer Gerald Meighan believes that the suburban campus is secure as well. The Schaumburg campus keeps all of its entrances locked with the exception of the front door. On two of the entrances, students and staff may enter by swiping their ID cards.
“This precaution allows only authorized persons to access the campus. All other persons have to come in the main entrance and get signed in,” Meighan said.
Each person to enter the schaumburg campus via the front door is tallied by the staff member stationed at the Welcome Kiosk to keep track of how many people come into the building. All visitors are then asked to sign in when they enter the building, and out when they exit.
Roosevelt has also given presentations on armed violence and safety during student and employee orientations. Protocols and safety advice regarding an active shooter can be found in the Roosevelt student handbook as well. Roosevelt also takes part in annual lockdown drills to prepare students and staff for possible threats.
Pizana said the school continually looks for improvement in school security.
“We are constantly analyzing new technology and additional training and support to ensure that our community is receiving the best protection we can offer,” Pizana said.
In spite of assuring the school’s safety, Malekzadeh, Pizana and Meighan encourage students to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings. All recommend reporting any suspicious persons or behaviors to campus security as soon as possible.
“It is very important that the community alert Campus Safety and or the police department when something happens that causes concern,” said Pizana.
Both Malekzadeh and Pizana believe that each member of the Roosevelt community plays an essential role in keeping our campuses and communities safe.