by Maddie Robertson
The well-being of students is always a school’s top priority. Along with their dedication to pushing their students to excel academically, athletically and creatively, it is the school’s responsibility to make sure students feel comfortable and safe in their school environment. School administrations do all that they can in order to assure the safety of their school communities. However, even the most seemingly untouchable locations are prone to crime.
During this school year alone, two instances of car theft and vandalization have occurred. The first of the two victims was junior Jolie Peal, who had her car stolen during musical practice. Peal, who had left her keys and wallet in the Performing Arts Center (PAC) lobby area, originally believed she misplaced her possessions. But when she checked the PAC parking lot and didn’t see her car, she knew it had been stolen. “Everything was so crazy. It felt unreal, and I couldn’t understand how someone could think it was okay to walk into Marian and steal someone’s things. It was so wrong,” Peal said.
Eventually, Peal’s car was found. Half of the vehicle was spray painted white. However, there was no other significant damage to the car and it was eventually repainted.
Senior Maddie Wiedenfeld’s car was also damaged, only this time with a broken window. “I got a call from a classmate saying that she thought someone might have broken into my car because my window was shattered and there was glass everywhere, so I ran to my car and found it with only three windows,” Wiedenfeld said. Though one of her backseat windows was smashed and the toaster oven she purchased as a Christmas present for her mother was taken, Wiedenfeld’s car and all other valuables inside of it were left untouched.
Both cars were parked on Marian grounds when they were broken into, however, that has not caused Peal and Wiedenfeld’s views of Marian to waver.
“Yes, I feel safe at Marian. I might not be parking in carpool lot again but it won’t change the way I think and feel about Marian,” Wiedenfeld said.
“I love Marian, and if anything, this situation brought me closer to my school and made me realize how much I truly appreciate it,” Peal said.
Indeed, Marian’s atmosphere is much different than that of a traditional high school’s. While safety is still a top concern, the means of achieving it are much different. Parking lots and student spaces are monitored by security men Richard Hutfless and Wayne Downey instead of an official police officer. Though they have the option to, Marian girls do not keep locks on their lockers. Instead, hallway security cameras are utilized when rare instances of theft occur.
In addition to what is already being done, Marian is taking several other safety precautions to ensure the school’s safety. “We will be increasing the number of cameras on the campus and adding some additional security for evening events. We will frequently remind students to lock their cars. Also, never prop doors open and the adults in the building will be double checking to see that outside doors are locked,” Principal Mrs. Susie Sullivan said.
Along with wondering what is being done to prevent cars from being damaged or stolen, many students and parents want to know what is being done to keep students from using drugs and bringing them onto the school’s campus.
Rather than drug testing students, the school will be adopting a new curriculum as of the 2018-2019 school year. “Our job at Marian is to educate, so with our new social-emotional curriculum we will be increasing our education about drug and alcohol use. We will cover everything from the harmful effects of using to the emotional damage it can cause,” Sullivan said.
No school can guarantee that outside forces will do students no wrong, but it can certainly guarantee it will do all that it can to prevent it from happening.