School to reinforce campus security

More safety measures will be implemented after Branding Iron incident.

After an on-campus rally last May commemorating the 17 lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Diamond Bar High School administration promised tighter school security. Since the Aug. 17 security threat at Branding Iron, DBHS has placed these matters on a more urgent agenda.

The school quickly added precautionary measures, installing Lock-Blocks and window shades and chains were replaced on all perimeter gates with locks that are easier to open and close.

However, recent events prompted demands for more preparation. Principal Reuben Jones addressed concerns at a Safety and Wellness Meeting held on Aug. 28.

Jones told the audience that he had been meeting with law enforcement nearly every day since the Branding Iron incident, working to make improvements and move forward from the event.

The meeting, which intended to give an overview of the Branding Iron incident, ran an hour over schedule after many expressed their anger and confusion at the situation.

“I heard students saying that their teachers were telling them that…the kids should not have been running but you know what, they should have been running because had there been a real gunman or woman, I want them running and safe,” Diamond Bar High School parent Debra Chavira said. “They [the school] need to continue this conversation and tell these kids that they did do the right thing.”  

Over the course of an hour, the meeting turned into a Q and A group discussion.

“I want to make sure we are communicating to our community to collectively figure this out,” Jones said.

Jones laid out plans and accepted suggestions regarding improving DBHS security. The first of those measures were implemented at last Friday’s football game, including the creation of a evacuation plan for the stadium that will be included in the pre-game spiel over the intercom. Upon entering the stadium, all guests will receive an evacuation sheet showing exits and nearby street names.         

Entrances are now limited to the gymnasium and Brea Canyon road gates while all other entrances will remained locked. Jones also will be implementing an idea to make trustworthy adults more identifiable; now every supervision staff member will be wearing a bright red lanyard.

The district has also approved the use of LobbyGuards, a visitor management system that runs background checks on every visitor who checks in at the front desk.

Additionally, Jones said the district has approved money for the installation of HD Cisco surveillance cameras around the campus.

The school is also working to form a parent safety advisory council. Jones asked anyone interested to send him an email.

“Measures may seem small now, but it is just the beginning,” Jones said.