Take action to approve safety at Wa-Hi

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I am writing to urge support for the Walla Walla High School bond. I am a taxpayer and parent of a middle school student who looks forward to his time at and graduation from Wa-Hi.

When I visit Wa-Hi, I am struck by the ease of access by the public to so many classrooms and other areas where students and teachers gather. I see that our children are vulnerable.

This bond gives us the opportunity to remedy this problem. As a parent and taxpayer, it’s an opportunity I’m taking.

We will improve the safety of our children by reducing exterior doors. Currently, there are more than 120 exterior doors — one access point for every 10 or so students who will be at Wa-Hi when my son graduates.

Others talk about the cost of heating and cooling issues. Reducing so many open doors and windows surely will address those issues.

But to me this much access raises concerns about the administration’s ability to protect our children. Renovation will cut these exterior doors by 80 percent. Instead of the many breezeways, we will have hallways. We also will have better alarm systems, classroom communication systems, and cameras that will help our teachers and staff respond to any emergent need.

Currently, most classrooms sit like fishbowls with windows exposing everyone inside. New window coverings will allow teachers to protect their students in times of need.

Who wants to think of the horrors that have occurred in other schools visiting our own children? I do not. But as a parent and taxpayer, I don’t want to be foolish either. If we have a crisis, will I be able to say I authorized our schools to proactively protect our kids? Come to think of it: this might be the most important vote I ever cast.

Moreover, these safety enhancements will meet real concerns today.

Wa-Hi is our school district’s bus transit hub. Children from all over the district ride buses that pass into and out of the main parking lot. They compete with parents’ cars for space. This is not safe for our younger children.

Having a separate place for the school buses to drop off will increase safety for all students in our district — not just those enrolled at the high school. Let’s be the responsible adults our kids rely upon us to be. Vote for improved safety at Wa-Hi.

Kathryn Barron

Walla Walla

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Comments

fatherof5 says...

Mrs. Barron makes some excellent points. Eliminating most of the exterior doors helps with both energy efficiency and safety.

Posted 8 February 2013, 4:37 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

So how many issues has Wa-Hi had with safety issues in the past - I haven't heard of any but if your worried hire armed security at a cost that won't equal $70 million.

Posted 8 February 2013, 5:57 p.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

How many times has your house burned down, namvet? Never? Do you have homeowners insurance that covers fire? Why pay for that? It hasn't burned before....

(Also, Wa-Hi has armed security. So did Columbine.)

Posted 8 February 2013, 8:03 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

I don't know the relationship of: home insurance and armed security - they both protect your belongings. Just because I have home insurance doesn't mean my house won't catch on fire?

Posted 9 February 2013, 7:52 a.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

You asked if Wa-Hi has had safety issues in the past. (Your implied point being that security isn't a problem.) So, I asked if you've had fire issues in the past. My point was that it is good to be protected just in case. For you, that means buying homeowners insurance to protect your assets against fire. A fire extinguisher is a good idea too. For Wa-Hi that means having security on campus, and if the bond passes, having buildings that can be locked down.

Hopefully, our houses won't catch on fire and hopefully bad guys won't come to school with guns, but it's prudent to be prepared just in case.

As for armed security, I like the fact that there is a police officer on campus at Wa-Hi. Does that mean he can be everywhere at all times? No. It's a big campus. (At Columbine, their armed security officer was investigating something at the other end of the school.) That's why this letter makes a good point about improving Wa-Hi's infrastructural security.

Is it a good enough point to persuade you to vote 'yes'? Obviously not. But it might be for others.

Posted 9 February 2013, 1:02 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

I noticed you didn't mention Sandy Hook that was as safety oriented as Fort Knox! The only access was to stand in front of a camera for door release. OOPPSSS - mentally challenged shoots window out and enters shooting kids and adults. Your all wet on this one!

Posted 9 February 2013, 2:44 p.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

No system is 100% safe, but I'll take 20 outside entrances over 120 any day when it comes to common sense security.

Posted 9 February 2013, 3:23 p.m. Suggest removal

namvet60 says...

Well I guess at $3.5 million per entrance?

Posted 10 February 2013, 3:09 p.m. Suggest removal

fatherof5 says...

That's like buying a house and saying you spent $200,000 on a living room. Yes, you get a living room, but you get a whole lot more too. This bond buys improved security, and a whole lot more.

When you buy a $40 pair of shoes, did you pay $20 per lace?

Posted 11 February 2013, 9:43 p.m. Suggest removal

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