District ups security due to nationwide violence, vaping

Souderton’s security team is working to instill stricter safety measures on campus. The changes come as a response to recent incidents in the district and in the United States.


Sara Bishop

Securing the school…Trying to enter the school, Souderton swim instructor Anna Bishop tries to use the door that is usually propped open. The door that was usually open was closed to promote school safety.

In response to recent incidents, the security team at Souderton Area High School promotes student safety by reducing the chances students have to cause danger during the school day.
The recent safety measures introduced include not allowing doors to be propped open and locking particular bathrooms during the school day.
Recent mass shootings and violence in schools across the country is one reason these safety measures are being prioritized.
The most recent example is the Michigan State shooting in February that left three students dead and five others wounded.
Junior Emily Ulrich trusts the security team at Souderton with her safety during the school day.
“I always feel very safe in our school,” Ulrich said. “Our security guards are making sure that everyone is safe and that no one dangerous gets into our building.”
School police officer Jeff Gower urges students and community members who feel unsafe to talk to their security team and to get to know them.
“Sit down and have a conversation with either a security officer or the school police officer,” Gower said. “Get to see what the sense is that we do on a daily basis and see how we can make you feel more comfortable knowing that we are here and that our job is to keep everybody safe.”
Gower reminds students to always remain cautious despite living in what he feels is a relatively safe area.
“Fortunately, I think Pennsylvania in large part, especially Montgomery County, we have seen good things, but we have seen a lot of bad around us,” Gower said.
“It can happen here.” Gower advises that if students “see something, say something.”
He reminds students that they do have the power to make the school be safer for all students, no matter who they are.
The security changes also come after the school has seen an increase in vaping during the school day.
Gower noticed a higher usage rate in school and seeks to reduce the opportunities students have to carry out illegal vaping in the school. “We were starting to have a higher usage rate in the use of illegal vaping devices in school,” Gower said. “We are trying to minimize the opportunities for the students.”
In order to reduce opportunities, the security team is spending more time in and around the bathrooms and locking them.
“I’ve mostly noticed the increase in security in security guards checking bathrooms. I feel like that’s good that everyone’s not [vaping] in the bathroom,” Ulrich said.
Although some students remain unaffected by the closures, some students feel otherwise.
Junior Anna Stratton said it is “super annoying” when the bathrooms are closed.

“I hate having to walk all over the school just to use the bathroom. It’s a waste of time,” said Stratton.
Gower said all of the measures are enforced in order to keep Souderton a safer place for all students and faculty.