Friday, February 8, 2013
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.