Possible security changes after TPHS threat

A TPHS freshman was taken into police custody on Feb. 22 after making threats against the campus in class and online, and four days later, a former TPHS student now attending another school in the district was also taken into custody for making older, unrelated threats unknown to officials until now, according to Principal Rob Coppo. 
In both cases, students reported the threats to the TPHS administration, who alerted the San Diego Police Department.  
Sarah Matthews* had one class with the freshman, and said multiple classmates reported the student after he began “showing signs.”
“I think the threat was really him asking for help but he didn’t know how to,” Matthews said. 
The day after the threat was made, many students decided to skip school.
“In my third period class, which is a class of 38, only about a third of the people were there,” Matthews said.
While Matthews felt campus security was “under control,” she still believes students had “a valid reason to miss school.”
For Hannah Jian (9), who attended a private school in China before moving this school year, the threats represented an aspect of American society she had been “warned”  about. 
“Overseas, we always hear about school shootings in America,” Jian said. “Guns are such a defining part of American culture.”
In an email to TPHS parents, Coppo announced that the campus entrance  accessed from Lansdale Drive next to the tennis courts will be locked during school hours. 
“In 1974, when TPHS was built, the school was constructed with an ‘open’ concept,” Coppo said in his email to parents. “It was a different time.” 
Threats leveled against TPHS and Canyon Crest Academy have led the SDUHSD to consider taking protective and preventive safety measures. 
“Prior to the Parkland incident, we hired a security consultant to do a comprehensive analysis of all of our campuses,” SDUHSD Superintendent Eric Dill said. 
SDUHSD’s newest campuses like CCA, Pacific Trails Middle School and the rebuilt Earl Warren Middle School all have fencing.
“We’ll be looking at hiring an architect to design a perimeter fencing system [for TPHS],” Dill said.
Jian believes that TPHS’ campus lacks the proper security. 
“I feel like here, security in schools is not as emphasized as it is overseas,” Jian said. “There are security guards, fences and everything is closed off [in China]. Here, it’s like an open campus.” 
Coppo has been in contact with SDPD to increase its on-campus presence.
“[SDPD] have their own staffing needs, and they serve five high schools down the 56 corridor,” Coppo said. “We’re working on how we find a balance so that they can be here to check in on a regular basis.”
Dill also wants to make sure that the needs of the student body are being addressed. 
“In two weeks TPHS is going to have what we’re calling a Wellness Fair that will have a keynote speaker to talk to parents about things they can do to help support the well-being of their kids,” Dill said.
Despite the Wellness Fair on Mar. 27 and other proposed safety reforms, Coppo hesitates to say that anything will be perfectly effective. 
“Since the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, 18 other high schools in San Diego County have had threats made against their campuses from Feb. 19 to Mar. 2, according to ABC 10 News. Rancho Bernardo High School had 17 different areas on campus spray painted, with messages like ”2/26/12:00,” “Florida was NOTHING!!” and “The innocent will die.”
In response to Parkland, President Donald Trump advocates arming teachers with guns to help protect students against potential shooters. While Coppo declined to share his thoughts on the President’s proposal, Dill did.
“I don’t think that our schools need any more guns,” Dill said. “I think that, knowing how often teachers misplace their keys and cell phones, I certainly wouldn’t want them to add guns to the list.”
Jian agrees with Dill that arming staff is a bad idea, as “schools would feel even more unsafe.”
According to Dill, security recommendations will be reviewed by the Board of Trustees.
*Name changed to protect student’s identity.

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