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The School Newspaper of Placer High School

Hillmen Messenger

The School Newspaper of Placer High School

Hillmen Messenger

The School Newspaper of Placer High School

Hillmen Messenger

Despite recent events, students still feel safe at Placer

The lock down on September 26 brought security to the minds of many students. While Placer’s proximity to the Auburn Police Department makes it comparatively safer than other campuses, the open-campus policy and large student body can raise some questions regarding security. 

Placer’s official security officers can be found in the office or around the campus. Specifically, campus monitors Chris Acala and Sandy Watkins are always easy to find during breaks and passing periods. 

“We do our best to try and create a lot of good relationships with a lot of kids,” Acala said.

While Acala has only been at Placer for a year, the atmosphere he, Watkins, and the other staff members create is one thing that students say makes them feel confident in their safety.

“The staff here puts effort into our safety and seems like they actually care,” said Placer High freshman Brooklyn Jackson.

However, because Placer is located so close to the heart of Auburn, many students have concerns about local people coming onto campus. For example, Alex Hall and Lana Terrell’s belongings were stolen in early September when 39-year-old Miranda Watson walked into the girls’ locker room. She was apprehended at In-N-Out and was later identified by her prior arrests.

“We need to continue to remind especially students, but also staff that when you see something suspicious… it needs to be reported to the office immediately,” said Tim Trokey, Assistant Principal in charge of security. “Because again, we can’t act if we don’t know.”

“The staff here puts effort into our safety and seems like they actually care.”

— Brooklyn Jackson - Freshman

Since the lockdown, new security methods have been implemented on Placer’s campus. 32 cameras have been installed almost everywhere. They are recording 24/7, with some cameras having 180° to 360° views.

Another concern brought up by students is communication on campus.

“[During] the lockdown… not everyone got a text,” said freshman Olivia England.

According to administrators, the only reason a student would not receive an emergency message is because they didn’t sign up with their phone number in Aeries. Teachers stress that in this sort of situation, it is always important to go to a staff member or administrator and ask ‘is this an active lockdown or precautionary?’ In the same way, it’s important for students to be aware of the meanings of different alarms.

“We call it a fire alarm but really it means there’s an emergency situation, whether it’s a fire or we need to go on lockdown or shelter in place, or all kinds of things,” said Trokey. “That is simply a tool that is gonna get everybody’s attention. So when that sounds, students should immediately go into the nearest classroom.” He also stated that if a student were not in a classroom already, they should find the closest room with a staff member. If the doors happen to be locked, let people know and try to get away from the danger. 

Other students have shared their concerns about their inability to defend themselves. In the instance that a student was to get assaulted by another student, there is one thing that Trokey stressed should be their first course of action.

“The idea and the goal is that if there is an opportunity to walk away, we walk away. We ask for help, because we don’t want to make poor choices that are gonna get ourselves into trouble,” he said. “And then as a last resort, if there’s nothing else we can do, we have to try and protect ourselves.”

In addition to this, Trokey stated how important it is for students to be watching what’s happening around them. 

“I just think that it’s always good to be mindful of safety issues, our surroundings, our awareness of what’s going on, and who’s around us, and never be afraid to report something or somebody that you think is suspicious,” he said.

During football games and dances, the APD is usually present. But even at smaller events, such as band performances and choir concerts, the principal or one of the assistant principals is always available. 

“Safety is always something that we should be thinking about, no matter if it’s this campus or any other campus,” Trokey said as a final reminder to students.

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