By Charida Amy Chan
Understaffed security team struggles to maintain order at OHS
Oakland High Security Officers feel stressed because they have to take care of students and fights without enough staff.
Security issues include students cutting classes, students smoking cigarettes and marijuana off and on campus, and students fighting. Due to some of these issues, tardy sweeps have started, but security staff say they are understaffed to enforce the sweeps.
Security officer Mike Carter said that, “A major issue is to deal with people with no judgment–both students and parents. Students don’t have a choice. Students have mental challenges with no self control. [We] don’t have enough staff to handle all the problems.”
In light of recent events the issues with students are overwhelming to security officers resulting in the police involvement due to the nature of incidences. My observation is that, we tend to have police in the school on a daily basis.
Security officer Deborah Jones said that, “the major issues in handling security are students cutting classes and fighting.” The security officers try to stay close to students by communicating with them, but are not always successful.
English teacher Mike Jones said that, “A major issue is adult attitudes.” He feels that the problems students bring to campus, such as being bullied and bullying others, may stem from home life. “There do seem to be more problems this year than last year,” he said, “but maybe the school has enough staff to handle all the problems.”
Bullying can become so bad that people can be seriously injured. Recently an Oakland High student, Richard Thomas was arrested for setting a boy, Sasha Fleischman, on fire on an AC transit bus line 57 causing serious injuries.
“A major issue is fighting,” said resource teacher Amy Wilder. “I think the students and security officers form strong relationships because they always care about each other.” Wilder also thinks there are not enough teaching staff because ten teachers were cut last year and their positions were not filled.
Shoshana Towers, an assistant principal, handles many students’ problems at the school by calling in parents and mediating between the two.
“Fighting is an automatic suspension of 3 to 5 days,” Towers said. She explained that cutting class results in a conference with the student; if it continues, the school will call the parents. If it still continues the students will be put on a contract and possibly get assigned to Saturday School. If caught smoking marijuana the student will receive drug counseling, possible suspension, or expulsion.
Towers said that the school always involves the police in gun issues because gun possession on campus is a serious crime.