The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

The Official Student-Run Newspaper of California High School

The Californian

Admin enforces new safety measures more strictly

Some students not on board with all of the changes
Nidhi Sudheendra
Cal High students leave campus through the newly installed gate on a path that leads to the Iron Horse Trail.

School administrators have implemented new policies and started enforcing some old ones more strictly this year to keep Cal High students safer.
Some of the new policies include hallway/bathroom passes, a restricted back parking lot, and new locking gates to enforce the closed campus.
Such policies are the result of parent backlash following the violent incident last May, when three Dublin High students came on campus and physically assaulted a student in a classroom.
¨I think it was scary for everybody right?” assistant principal Rhonda Taft said. “We don’t ever want any parent, student, teacher, substitute teacher to ever have to go through something like that.”
Following the incident, a group of parents, concerned about the level of security on campus, started a petition on to raise awareness about student safety on campus and bring the matter to the administration’s attention.
“This is a big campus with a ton of students and teachers, and they’ve got wide open gates, so any member of the public could just walk on into the campus,” said a Cal parent who wished to remain anonymous to keep their child’s identity secret. “When I started discussing it with some other parent friends, they were concerned also. So I took it upon myself to bring this up as an issue,” the parent added.
Eventually, the petition gained enough momentum for the parent to meet with Principal Demetrius Ball, who worked to collaborate with the parents on the security issue. The result was greater gate security around campus.

“The district started paying attention to this, and we’re slowly making progress on some of that [gate security],” the source said. “The gates are now auto-closing and staying closed, as long as the monitors are watching them [the gates].

This year, Cal has continued to build off of what the parent petition and Ball have accomplished last year.

Ball stated that in his opinion, the safety measures last year were not very well planned out, and there was definitely room for improvement.

With the pandemic ending and life returning to normal, the administration team has shifted their focus from getting students back to school to keeping students safe on campus.

¨When we came back from COVID, we had like what was called a soft opening,” Assistant Principal Rhonda Taft, who also had a hand in the implementation of the revised safety guidelines, said. ¨We were just encouraging students to come back to school.¨

The new and more stringent rules are evident in daily life at Cal. For example, every class has bright orange hall passes that a student has to take whenever they leave the classroom. In previous years, hall passes weren’t heavily enforced and they were often random objects.

“Cal High has always been a closed campus, but this year we have additional admin, and an admin TSA,” Taft said. “It might seem like it is much more enforced this year, but we’re really just fully staffed.”

All staff members are making sure they enforce these rules.

“You got to start off very tight, very rigid, very explicit,” Ball said. “And if we see folks doing the right thing, then we don’t have to harp on them as much.”

And like Ball said, the policies are very specific and implemented tightly.

“The policies have always been the same,” Chris Torrey, staff member and basketball coach said. “I just think that we’ve done a really good job this year just forcing those policies that were already in place.”

Students around campus have been talking about the rumor of admin requiring students to wear a lanyard with identification around the school. Principal Ball confirmed this rumor in a press conference and explained that it will most likely be implemented in the 2024-2025 school year for students.

The level of security at Cal High is rising, and many students feel the effects of it.

“I really appreciate the whole safety thing because safety’s pretty important, especially in these days with everything that’s been happening at schools,” junior Sadhana Bala said.

However, not all students are 100 percent on board with the new policies.

¨I understand why admin thinks we need to wear our IDs around due to the events that happened last year,” sophomore Benjamin McCafery said. “But I think it’s a little extra and the new security features should be the extent for our safety.”

Although some students feel like these changes are over the top, the administration is doing it for the safety and well-being of everyone.

“I know it feels really hard for the students and that they feel like it’s not fair,” Taft said. ¨But, we are really just trying to keep them safe.”

The admin team hopes the new phone policies, hall passes, and safety gates keep students safe, although it may be hard to adjust to these new features and rules.

¨Our number one job is to make sure that students are safe,” Taft added.

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About the Contributors
Andrew Chen
Andrew Chen, Assistant News Editor
Andrew Chen is an assistant News Editor and sophomore returning for his second year of Newspaper. He's excited for his new role in News and is looking forward to making a bigger impact. He loves to play basketball with friends and roam around New York City on vacation.  
Vedant Desikamani
Vedant Desikamani, Assistant News Editor
Sophomore Vedant Desikamani is back for his second year with The Californian as an assistant News Editor. He is excited for his new role as he will be more involved with the paper and be able to help improve other writers' stories. In his free time, he likes to listen to music, watch TV and hang out with his friends.
Sophia Liu
Sophia Liu, Assistant News Editor
Junior Sophia Liu is returning to The Californian for a second year as an assistant news editor. She’s hoping to have lots of fun at Cal this year through working together with her friends in newspaper class. In her free time, Sophia loves reading books, listening to music, and binging new Asian dramas. She is especially obsessed with Taylor Swift and romance books.
Nidhi Sudheendra
Nidhi Sudheendra, Staff Writer
Nidhi Sudheendra is a junior and a first time reporter at The Californian. She wants to specialize in social media and photography. Nidhi has been a dancer for 10 years and likes to read and watch Netflix in her free time. She is very excited to join the newspaper and explore photography and social media. She also hopes to improve her writing.

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