DeMatha has instituted more security measures in order to make our campus safer. In between the dates of January 15th and January 18th, all students were kept in their homerooms for the duration of interim while the new security systems were installed. Once installed, all students must buzz in to get into different buildings.
The doors unlock three minutes before class starts and lock three minutes after the bell rings. Students will still be able to get in, but they will go around to the main door and get buzzed in via an intercom system. This will inevitably be inconvenient for students who are coming from different buildings, but it will be made up for with the added safety.
In addition to the added physical security, DeMatha has also taken measures to help ensure the emotional safety of students. Students are required to download the Safe2SpeakUP app, which allows the students to report bullying incidents to the administration. Only the administration can see what was said. In addition to this, emergencies can be reported over the app. When the emergency button is pressed, all of the school administration and the local police department will be alerted. The name and location of the one who reported the incident will also be automatically sent, to avoid anyone trying to make a joke out of it.
Declan Vargas, a senior, says, “In theory, this is a great idea. I’m not sure how it will work in an active shooter situation, or if people would have the frame of mind to go onto their phones and report it, but I’m glad that DeMatha is taking some steps to make us safer.”
DeMatha has already made some security improvements, including locking the back gates at interim, and having them on a motion sensor system. This has not stopped certain members of the Hyattsville community from making their way into the parking lot before it closes, but the numbers of people have drastically reduced. The truth is, there is a delicate balance between security and comfort. The goal is to make DeMatha safer, while still maintaining the feel of a close knit community. That feeling will be lost if DeMatha is turned into a maximum security prison. The administration will continue to work hard to achieve this goal.