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The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

The Monarch Times

Sound the Alarm!

No one truly knows what to do in the case of disaster, especially since people may not be in the safety of their own home. They may be out shopping, at work, or, in the case of Mt. Eden students, at school.

California residents can be victims of many natural disasters, especially earthquakes. Students could also potentially fall victim to mass shootings. There is a high chance disaster can strike while children are at school, so they must be as best prepared as they can be.

At Mt. Eden High School, home of around two thousand Monarchs, students and staff must be ready for the unexpected at all times. With the help of the safety committee on campus, administrators attempt their best to prepare students for every possible emergency situation like earthquakes, fires, and lockdowns. 

According to William Wright, assistant principal and head of the safety committee, the safety committee is “in charge of creating [emergency plans] and following the template (comprehensive school safety plan).” They are responsible for helping resolve any incident, threat, or safety flaws at the school. The committee consists of a representative from each of the three unions on campus, parents, and students.

In accordance with mandated state law, every school in California must have a comprehensive school safety plan (CSSP). Wright mentioned that HUSD has its own CSSP that every school safety committee in the district implements at their site. 

Every teacher has an emergency response guidebook that they can use in case of an emergency. The book covers 13 scenarios which include earthquakes, fires, lockdowns, and even nuclear attacks—a precaution that stuck from the Cold War. In addition, teachers get a map with the locations of evacuation areas, fire extinguishers, triage areas, and more. The map of Mt. Eden is imperfect as the school goes through remodeling, with the areas changing according to construction.

Multiple teachers also take part in ensuring the campus’s safety in an emergency. For example, English teacher Tanaslid Dangsangtong is a part of the triage, a section where they determine how urgently someone needs medical assistance after an incident. Dangsangtong, being a pretty new teacher at Mt. Eden, is familiar with the basic instructions of guiding his class through an evacuation and lockdown, but still struggles with understanding when teachers are to go to their specific roles, like him to his triage role. Still, he feels like he and his students are prepared for emergencies with his class from last year exemplifying their readiness during a lockdown.

David Gurley, a capstone photography teacher on campus, also believes he has prepared his class for an emergency. Since his photography class is known for walking around on campus to take pictures, he often talks to his students about carrying out emergency procedures while away from their classrooms. His biggest concern is earthquakes since they are common in California and makes sure his students know what to do. With the help of Share911, a communication system staff use during emergencies, Gurley would be able to get in contact with other teachers in the chance that his students are away from him during an emergency. Gurley believes that with campus safety improving throughout the years, his class is also ready in the case of an emergency.

However, math teacher Taslin Kimball doubts Mt. Eden’s preparedness for an emergency. “I feel like all staff need to be trained because I don’t feel like all staff members, especially new staff members, understand the emergency response plan,” said Kimball, mentioning that the plans consist of many steps. Already expressing her concern to administrators, Kimball does not feel like the emergency response guide is not accurate and needs to be updated. Kimball’s main concern is the lack of drills for emergencies causing students and staff to hesitate during an actual emergency. She would like for executing the plans to be “like second-hand nature.”

Still, Mt. Eden’s safety committee, according to Wright, is considered one of the best and most prepared in the district, planning for any and every situation that could happen. According to Wright, while nothing is perfect, Mt. Eden’s administration and safety committee still attempts their best to ensure the safety of their students.

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About the Contributor
Catherine Escoto
Catherine Escoto, Co-Editor
Hello! My name is Catherine Escoto and I am a Co-Editor for The Monarch Times for the 2023-24 school year. This is my first year in the class and I am thoroughly enjoying it. I was born and raised in Hayward, California. I love writing during my free time and working with young kids at my job. I can be contacted through my Instagram or my email. Please sit back and enjoy my articles!
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