School budgets may challenge campus safety

Recent events have raised questions as to how safe schools really are


Stephen Sanicola/Scottsdale Chronicle

Cheyenne Traditional School is a K-8 school in Scottsdale and part of the Scottsdale Unified School District.

Stephen Sanicola, Sports Editor, Scottsdale Chronicle

On Friday, Feb. 12, at around 8:00 a.m., there was a murder/suicide involving two female students on the campus of Independence High School in Glendale, Ariz.

The shooting at Independence High was the seventh reported school shooting in the United States this year, according to the support fund Everytown for Gun Safety. Usually, when a school shooting occurs, the long-debated topic of gun safety immediately comes up. However, many feel it is time for the American people to focus on other issues across the nation that play a key factor in these unfortunate incidents.

School safety remains a concern for every district in the country, but unfortunately many schools are not receiving the proper care they need to protect their students.

Dennis Draper, the security officer at Mountainside Middle School, feels if any changes should be made, there should be an increase in the budget in order to increase security.

“I feel that a budget increase would be the first thing so we have more money for better equipment,” Draper said.
Draper says the school, which has multiple cameras positioned all over the campus, does a decent job of keeping an eye on things.

“It’s a very secure campus as far as doors being locked and being walled in like a fort,” Draper said.

Draper makes multiple rounds throughout the day checking all over the campus for any suspicious activity, such as a backpack left lying around or a car that is parked where it should not be.

“If we had the budget I would prefer to put up block walls but I know that’s not going to happen,” Draper said. “I understand that we do have budget constraints, that’s something that I have accepted, but we do the best we can with what we’ve got.”

The thought of schools not being able to fully protect their students due to a shortage in the budget is scary. Money should not be a concern when it comes to school safety.

Holly DiTallo, the language arts teacher for seventh and eighth grade at Cheyenne Traditional School, feels that their campus is secured enough, at least for now.

“I can’t say I feel unsafe on this campus but I can tell you that I feel less safe than I used to,” DiTallo said. “I think Cheyenne does the best it can. We all know that if somebody wants to do something badly enough, a gate is not going to stop them. Nothing is going to stop them.”

However, Grace Stombres, the Principal at Cheyenne Traditional School, feels that the security at the K-8 school is top notch.

“I feel very safe,” Stombres said. “We do have important security measures here on campus.”

Budget concerns are a huge issue for most schools in the Valley. There are varying opinions as to what if anything could be done or purchased to increase safety on school campuses.