Each day, hundreds of students walk, bike or drive themselves to school, so vehicle safety directly affects much of our student body. There are already rules in place to maintain safety on and around campus such as walking bikes to the racks, locking bikes, and wearing helmets, but even more changes have been made this year in order to prevent collisions, theft and vandalism. The steps taken by the school to improve safety this year are a step in the right direction, and the school should continue increasing safety measures.
Students and parents were surprised to see the U-shaped drop-off zone next to the student parking lot now closed off this year. The decision to close it came after a review of transportation patterns around the school by an organization from Berkeley. They told the school’s administration that cars turning onto the campus increases the likelihood of cars, bikes and pedestrians crossing paths in potentially dangerous ways. Students who bike to school will now feel safer doing so, and hopefully more students will be encouraged to start.
“By having the parents dropping students off on the side streets rather than coming onto campus, it makes it safer for bikers and pedestrians,” Assistant Principal Galen Rosenberg said.
Another issue the school faces is bike theft. There have only been a couple reports of stolen bikes so far this year, but that does not mean others have not happened. If a student’s bike or any other private property is stolen, the student is supposed to file a report with the school office.
“Just like any other private property, it is a student’s responsibility,” Rosenberg said. “Nine times out of 10, students say they locked their bike, and they didn’t. We do have surveillance cameras in place now so that if a bike were stolen, it’s likely we could identify the people who did it, so that is another reason to report it.”
Students used to have little motivation to report theft because there was nothing the administration could do to prove who stole it. Security cameras will greatly increase students’ sense of security when leaving their bikes locked and will encourage them to file reports.
“I definitely don’t worry as much about leaving my bike at the racks [since the cameras were installed],” sophomore Gillian Antiporda said. “It is nice to know that if anything happens to it, it would be really easy to find out who did it and get it back.”
Vehicle vandalization is less common, but it definitely does still take place. Recently, a student’s car parked behind the tennis courts was keyed with gang symbols. He filed a report with the office, but no leads have turned up so far. To combat this issue, the administration should place surveillance cameras at the back of the school where most of this vandalism is taking place.
“If we have evidence to believe a student is involved in vandalism, especially another student’s car on or near campus, we would definitely treat it as a disciplinary matter,” Rosenberg said. “It’s just like accusing anybody of a crime, so we would definitely follow-up if we had basis for believing someone was involved in anything like that.”