Minneapolis area schools strengthen security

Several districts working profusely to keep students in class


Josh Halper

Hopkins high school increased its security this past year by adding alarms to all doors. Other schools in the Minneapolis area have also taken extra security measures.

Lukas Levin

When Southwest senior Noah Prince saw the increase of protection at his high school, he said he saw a frivolous system that seems to hurt students more than help.

“As a student, all increases in security feel both inadequate for actual threats and burdensome for the student body,” Prince said. “At my school, students of color are singled out way more than anybody else, and they just make our school feel even more unwelcoming.”

Across many districts, schools have been increasing their security. Most are protocols put in place at the beginning of the year according to St. Louis Park Safety Officer Thomas Bravo.

Prince said Southwest High School, located in the Linden Hills neighborhood of Minneapolis, now requires every student who enters the building to show their student ID. This is the first year they have taken this security measure according to Prince.

Bravo said that his goals for safety in school includes meetings with the St. Louis Park Police to help coach teachers. Along with increased time with Police, Bravo said he is collaborating with other district safety officers to make sure Park’s security is the strongest it can be.

“This year one of the only things that has been implemented is the training, we have had more sessions with the teachers. We’re trying to get the doors locked as much as possible, but that has always been a goal,” Bravo said. “We’re just reinforcing it with staff and students, telling them to please not let anybody in this building. They must go around to the main entrance. Other than that, we’re going to our colleagues in other districts and asking them about their protocols.”

Hopkins senior Carmen Garrigos said Hopkins high school added alarms to all their doors at the beginning of the year to dissuade students from leaving the building. Garrigos said she doesn’t mind the increased regulation.

“To me it is not a hassle because I can easily get in and out of school during the day because of my senior pass, so it is not a problem having all doors locked except the front,” Garrigos said. “In light of recent events, I feel protected knowing that if my school were to be attacked in any sort of way, there would be a lot of security preventing that from happening.”

Bravo said he takes his job seriously, and his goal is to help foster a healthy learning environment for students while also ensuring they can feel free from danger or worry.

“I’ve done security for 15 years, so I was honored when I got here two to three years ago to be able to help with security and make an environment that is welcoming, but yet is secure for everybody because we don’t want to have a prison, but we want to have it such that people feel safe while at school,” Bravo said. “That is our goal and with the plans we have in place. It’s going happen, and people are going to be very happy with it.”

Park freshman Grace Kayinku said she has never personally been affected by any violence or danger at the school this year. Kayinku said she doesn’t expect any drastic violence while at Park because of how generally secure the school and neighborhood is.

“From what I heard and what I’ve seen, there has never really been an instance where (Officer Gronski) had to go into action and do her policing and I think it’s not a big deal she hasn’t sprung into action and had to do anything,” Kanyinku said. “This is a pretty safe community in my opinion, so I think the school security is pretty good given the safety of the community outside.”

Garrigos said she is content with the safety measures implemented this year at Hopkins.

“I feel extremely comfortable with the amount of security in my school and I would not change anything,” Garrigos said.

According to Bravo, kids who leave the building will not be let back in unless they are carrying their student ID. Although this may seem contrary to keeping kids in school, Bravo said it is a necessity to ensure the safety of all faculty, visitors and students.

“Moving forward, this campus will have one secure entrance. When everything is said and done it will have one entrance for the public and staff and students, and one entrance for athletics,” Bravo. “People who use the McDonald’s entrance will be able to leave, but won’t be able to get back in unless they have the proper (identification).”