Arizona School beefing up Security after Mass Shootings

By Don Tagala, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

The recent mass shootings at the Washington DC Navy Yard, the Chicago South Side shooting rampage as well as the deadly shooting in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut prompted some Filipino parents in Arizona to take another look at their own children’s safety in schools.

“Bilang isang parent unang reaksiyon mo matatakot ka para sa safety ng mga anak mo dahil siyempre nasa trabaho ka, mga anak mo nasa eskuwelahan so ineexpect mo na nasa safest place sila,” Rico San Agustin, a parent in Gilbert, Arizona said, “Katulad nga sa case ng Sandy hook na may pwedeng mangyari sa anak mo yung emergency situation possible pa rin sila na maging at risk.”

Assistant Superintendent Shane McCord says, the safety and security of its students and academic professionals comes first and the Gilbert Public High school is making all the necessary precautions to prevent such school tragedy from happening in their backyard.

Their first security measure is to make sure there’s only 1 entry and exit point for students and families to better monitor who comes in and out of the school property.

Other enhanced security measures include security camera upgrades, fortifying their perimeter fence and gates and adding more security guards.

School officials say they will leave no stone unturned when it comes to the safety of the students but when it comes to arming teachers and academic staff with guns, well,that’s a different story.

“I personally don’t think its personally necessary here, we have a trained skilled police officer who is entrusted by the state of arizona and more specifically the town of gilbert to provide public safety duties, that’s who i trust for the firearm in this campus, explained School Principal Christopher Stroud. 

“We want our school to be a welcoming place, we want it to be a place where people wanna go and be accepted, we want our families and our parents to come in during the day and help out in our kids and participate in their education, McCord said, “The best security are the eyes and ears of the adults that are there.”
Gilbert High School student Aira San Agustin said, “Opo safe po, feeling ko po safe ako inside the school kasi madaming nga teachers and staff na pumupunta lang sa mga hall tapos tsine-check.”

Although Aira feels safer now at her school, McCord said that even with all the security measures in place, unfortunately — no school in the US is guaranteed 100 percent secured.

“The measures that Sandy Hook in place were phenomenal but I think it’s also goes to show that you can have a lot of high profile type of security measure in your campus but when somebody comes on a campus or wants to get in with a weapon,” McCord said, “There’s ways to do that.”

Aside from increased police presence in their school, Principal Stroud said they have also included a school resource officer.

Stroud said, “We also have a school resource officer — a sworn police officer with the town of Gilbert and their job is also… just be present in campus, if there is, their duties can range from the mundane — a fender bender in the parking lot to serious things if we think there’s a crime that needs to be investigated.”

Equipped with proper training, resource officers can deter crime just by being present” Stroud said.

Their roles as teachers and counselors enable them to develop trust with students that can result in detecting possible threats and averting crises before they occur.

McCord says enhancing the security is just one part – but what school officials and staff do in those situations when tragedy strikes is what’s more important.

With Reports from Raul Legaspi.

You may contact Don Tagala at

One Comment

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  • jorge buesa
    24 September 2013 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Another thing you should take a good look at ? Is what state you live in, some states guns controls is one of the reasons the people get killed alot and kids ? If you in a good state that watch over they kids at school a OK ! But if you live in a state that have a lot of guns around watch-out? I think Arizona is one BAD place to live alot people with guns at home !